OT Ukraine seeks World Bank loan due to energy crisis

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http://infoseek.go.com/Content?arn=a1214LBY394reulb-20000126&qt=%2BReuters+%2Bukraine&sv=IS&lk=noframes&col=NX&kt=A&ak=news1486 Ukraine sees $18.3 mln in World Bank energy loan 08:45 a.m. Jan 26, 2000 Eastern KIEV, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Ukraine hopes to win an $18.29 million loan from the World Bank soon to help improve energy efficiency in the capital Kiev, a senior official said on Wednesday.

``We reached mutual agreement on all issues during talks last December and we are waiting for the bank's board to approve the project,'' Volodyslav Yermakov, an official at Ukraine's Agency for Development and European Integration, told a news briefing.

Dmytro Derkach, spokesman for the World Bank's Kiev office, said the board of directors would make a decision on the loan in the next few days.

The total value of the five-year project would be $30.4 million, including $10.1 million from the Kiev city government and $2 million from the Swedish government, a statement said.

The project, which unlike other World Bank loans would not be used to support Ukraine's balance of payments, is aimed at improving energy efficiency in 1,300 hospitals, schools and other municipal buildings.

World Bank experts said the implementation of the project would allow the cash-strapped country to save up to $3 million on energy imports a year.

Ukraine imports up to 55 percent of its the energy it uses, mainly from Russia, the bank said in the statement.

Olexsiy Chubunin, a senior Kiev city official, said the administration was negotiating a $150 million loan with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to improve energy efficiency in the industrial sector.

Chubunin said the Canadian government would cover half the cost of the EBRD project, which could start later this year.

The World Bank, one of the country's major creditors, has already disbursed about $1.9 billion of its $3 billion commitments to Ukraine.

((Olena Horodetska, Kiev newsroom,+380 44 244 9150, e-mail:kiev.newsroom+reuters.com))

-- boop (leafyspurge@hotmail.com), January 27, 2000

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