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Bulgaria: World Bank Approves Loan

By Bob Lyle

Washington, 31 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - The World Bank has approved a $100 million quick-disbursing loan to Bulgaria to help Sofia cover its balance of payments shortfall.

Bank project manager Hans Moritz says Bulgaria has paid a "high price for the slow implementation of structural reforms," with hardly any economic growth in 1994 and 1995 and a decline of 10.9 percent in 1996.

What's needed, he says, is decisive action by the government to restore confidence and promote economic stability. To that end, the bank loan will be used to reduce losses and improve financial discipline in state-owned enterprises, accelerate the privatization process and push the privatization of public sector banks to develop a sound commercial banking system.