The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $200 million in additional development policy financing to support Uzbekistan’s ongoing health, social, and economic policy responses to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This financing will provide additional money for the government’s budget amidst a large decline in tax revenues and an unanticipated increase in expenditures to cover anti-crisis measures.
Following detailed advanced planning and preparation, Uzbekistan has taken strong and early health and social distancing measures to contain local transmission of COVID-19. However, as in many other countries around the world, the negative impact of the global economic slowdown and domestic containment measures have been severe on households and businesses across the country. To mitigate the impacts, the government has announced a strong package of anti-crisis measures to boost health spending, expand social and business safety nets, and preserve the gains made through the government’s 2017-2021 reform program.
“The additional financing provided by the World Bank through this operation will help support the government’s anti-crisis measures, which aim to reduce viral transmission, alleviate human suffering, and minimize the economic impact of the crisis in Uzbekistan,” said Hideki Mori, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan.
The additional support provided under this operation is linked to the $500 million Development Policy Operation (DPO) that was approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors in June 2019. The case for additional financing is based on the significant progress that was achieved prior to the COVID-19 pandemic in implementing inclusive market reforms, and the unanticipated budgetary gap that has emerged as a result of the crisis.
This operation is the first part of a coordinated response by the World Bank and other development partners to boost the government’s budget for its anti-crisis measures and sustain the economic and social transformation that has taken shape in Uzbekistan since 2017. It will also complement a $95 million financing package, approved by the World Bank on April 24, 2020, to strengthen health and social protection systems as part of the immediate response to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.