World Bank approves $US30 million grant

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: The World Bank has approved a US$30 million grant that will provide Haiti with urgently needed funds to close its budget gap and support the government’s efforts to increase public sector accountability.

The grant will leverage an additional US$25 million from the donor-supported Haiti Reconstruction Fund (HRF), which is managed by the Bank.

“These funds will help us to close the budget gap and address important needs in terms of the efficient and transparent management of public resources,” said Minister of Economy and Finance Ronald Baudin.

The new funding is part of the Bank’s commitment to support Haiti’s recovery in the wake of the January 12 earthquake, which killed more than 230,000 people.

The Emergency Development Policy grant supports fiscal transparency in the electricity sector, strengthens budget controls and public procurement, and supports anti-corruption measures by increasing transparency in payments to independent power producers. It also reinstates budget controls of external and internal audits at the Ministry of Finance; enforces the Law on Declaration of Assets among members of government to reduce corruption and strengthens procurement regulation to ensure sound implementation of the new procurement law.

The operation is co-financed by a US$25 million grant from the HRF to which Brazil, Norway, Australia, Colombia and Estonia have contributed.

“Speedy assistance to Haiti is of the essence, but so are controls to ensure that funds are not misspent,” said World Bank Director for the Caribbean, Yvonne Tsikata. “This grant supports that by providing the government of Haiti urgently needed budget support for activities related to good governance.”

The operation builds on the economic governance reforms started before the earthquake and is in line with the government’s Action Plan for National Recovery and Development of Haiti and the short-term governance program presented to the international community in March.

At the request of the government of Haiti, the World Bank established the HRF in March, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations. Donors pledged approximately US$500 million at the time.

To date, five donors have confirmed their pledges for a total of US$99 million, of which US$67 million has been received.

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