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Romania: World Bank Loans Approved

Washington, 4 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The World Bank has approved three loans totaling $550 million for Romania to underwrite what a bank official calls the new government's "bold reform initiative."

The director of the Bank's Southeastern Europe Department, Kenneth Lay, says the loans mark the beginning of a new country assistance program for Romania, a framework of major financial and advisory efforts by the bank to help Bucharest.

One loan, for $50 million, is for a social protection program to increase child allowances, expand food programs for the poor and provide income buffers to replace the bread subsidy.

The second loan for $350 million will help Romania reform its agriculture sector, accelerating privatization and reforming price and trade operations.

The third loan is for $150 million to improve 1,000 kilometers of roads and bridges and modernize the highway system.