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25 March 2020, 16:47

Belarus in negotiations with WB, EIB on COVID-19 finance, to consider IMF proposals

Maksim Yermolovich. An archive photo
Maksim Yermolovich. An archive photo

MINSK, 25 March (BelTA) – The Finance Ministry is in negotiations with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank on financing due to COVID-19 and will consider proposals of the International Monetary Fund, BelTA learned from Belarusian Finance Minister Maksim Yermolovich on 25 March.

The official said: “We've already started working with the World Bank to support the Healthcare Ministry. We've started preparing the agreement. Negotiations have also begun with the European Investment Bank.”

The World Bank's financing may reach the equivalent of $50 million and may be appropriated in three stages. Up to $20 million may be granted in the first stage to buy medical products (masks, sanitizers, and other products). The second stage and the third one envisage the purchase of medical equipment, replacement of medical transport, and so on.

The agenda of cooperation with the European Investment Bank is broader but the main task is to focus on what the Healthcare Ministry spends directly on fighting the coronavirus and focus on the relevant purchases.

The IMF offers an accelerated financing procedure to countries. Maksim Yermolovich explained that since Belarus' quota in the IMF stands at 681.5 million SDR, the country may claim $450 million in annual finance for two years. Thus, the resulting sum may be close to $900 million. At the same time the finance minister pointed out it is a new IMF procedure and needs to be tested and polished yet. “But as a matter of principle we should think about it,” he added.

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