GPOBA Signs US$3.1 million Grant Agreement with Armenia

The World Bank and the Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund in Armenia signed a Grant Agreement in Yerevan on April 28, 2006. US$3.1m in subsidies will be provided by GPOBA to improve the access to gas and heating services for poor households in urban multi-apartment buildings outside of the capital city, Yerevan. This will be combined with total subsidy co-financing of about USD 3.5m from the Bank and the Armenian government.

A well attended press conference was held in Yerevan with several news agencies present to cover the Grant signing occasion. According to the ARKA news agency, The World Bank Country Manager, Mr. Roger Robinson and Ms. Tamar Babayan, the Director of the Renewable Resources and Energy Efficiency Fund (E2R2), signed the agreement. The Hayastani Hanrapetutyun newspaper reported that those eligible to receive the grants will be determined based on the main existing social protection program supporting low-income households in Armenia - the Poverty Family Benefit Program. The project will provide support to poor households for connection costs only and will not cover recurrent expenses, noted the Azg Daily. 168 Hours, another newspaper, highlighted that the Project will be carried over in parallel to the Urban Heating Project approved by the WB in July 2005. As a result of the program, about 85,000 people will have sufficient heating.