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NEWS AND EVENTS
January 14, 2005
JAPAN, WB ISSUE US$1.7M GRANT FOR UZBEK MUNICIPAL REFORMS
The government of Uzbekistan and the World Bank signed a US$1.69 million grant agreement on Friday to help people of Bukhara and Samarkand reduce water losses.

Funding for the grant was provided by the government of Japan to support implementation of the World Bank?s Bukhara and Samarkand water supply project.

On behalf of Uzbek government, the grant was signed by Rustam Azimov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy. Yuichi Kusumoto, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Japan to Uzbekistan, and Martin Raiser, the World Bank\'s Country Manager for Uzbekistan, also took part at the ceremony.

Azimov expressed gratitude to Japanese government and the World Bank for rendering assistance in informing economic, social and infrastructure spheres of Uzbekistan.

First water supply systems appeared in Samarkand and Bukhara 2,000 years ago. Nowadays, the World Bank and the governments of Japan and Switzerland are supporting rehabilitation of these infrastructures at modern level, he said.

Azimov noted that the project was very important for Uzbekistan not only in providing pure water to population, but also in introduction of market principles in communal sphere.

Japanese envoy Yuichi Kusumoto expressed satisfaction with the state of Uzbek-Japanese relations and added that Japan was ready to render assistance to socio-economic reforms in Uzbekistan.

?This grant will assist the people of Bukhara and Samarkand to help themselves in improving the reliability of water supply in their cities,? Martin Raiser said. ?During a time when many communal services become more expensive, this project aims to show what people themselves can do to reduce wastage, and obtain an affordable and reliable public service.?

Japanese grant funds will be used to reduce water losses in selected multi-storeyed apartment blocks in the cities of Bukhara and Samarkand. The grant will help develop a community-based approach to the preparation and implementation of repair and maintenance programmes for water supply installations and appliances within multi-storeyed houses.

The project will work with the existing home owners? associations (HOAs) in Bukhara and Samarkand HOAs, which are responsible for the technical management of the water distribution installations inside their buildings as well as the collection of water charges. The project will help strengthen the HOA?s capacity and provide funds for the rehabilitation of internal water supply installations.

The Bukhara and Samarkand water supply project, approved in March 2002 worth US$62.33 million, targets increasing efficiency and reliability of water supply, improving water quality and strengthening the financial position of Vodocanals (water supply organisations) in Bukhara and Samarkand. 650,000 people of Bukhara and Samarkand will be supplied with quality drinking water by 2007. Institutional reorganisation and changes in water supply policy will increase effectiveness and financial stability of water supply organisations of these cities.

Uzkommunkhizmat agency is set as executing agency. Uzbekistan joined the World Bank\'s in 1992. The World Bank\'s mission in the country is to improve people\'s livelihood being a partner in economic reforms, supporting modernization of the country\'s social sector and infrastructure and sharing knowledge and experience with the government and the people.

The IBRD/IDA commitments to Uzbekistan amount to about US$640 million as of December 2004.


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