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Russia: World Bank Agrees To $800 Million Social Program

Washington, 4 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - A World Bank spokeswoman says agreement has been reached with Russia on a program for Moscow to repay pension arrears and restructure the entire social welfare system. The spokeswoman says the program is to be supported by a World Bank loan of around $800 million.

The spokeswoman says that once final details are completed, the proposed loan will be presented to the bank's Board of Executive Directors for final approval, perhaps by the end of June.

Agreement on the social sector reform program came as the bank's board prepares for consideration Thursday of six loans for Russia totaling more than $884 million.

The loans include $600 million for structural adjustments in the overall reform program, $85 million for an enterprise restructuring project and $71 million to improve higher education. They also include $66 million for a pilot health care project, $40 million to reform the electric power industry, and $22.6 million to improve the government's economic analysis.

The loans are part of what World Bank President James Wolfehnson said in April in Moscow would be an expected lending to Russia of up to $2 billion over the next two years.