St. Petersburg to use World Bank loan to eradicate unsafe housing

The St. Petersburg administration plans to use the entirety of a USD 100 million loan from the World Bank to eradicate unsafe housing from the city. Speaking yesterday at a session of the Legislative Assembly's housing commission, Deputy Governor Alexander Vakhmistrov said that 'the administration has met the majority of its obligations to the bank. Nevertheless, the decision to award the loan is being delayed by the fact that the assembly has not yet passed a law on regulating planning and building in St. Petersburg (which is a condition of the loan).

The World Bank is planning to allocated a USD 150 million loan for St. Petersburg's development in two parts: the municipal part is worth USD 100 million and the federal part USD 50 million. A decision on allocating the funds had been planned to be taken at a meeting of the World Bank's board of directors in March 2003 and the funds were intended to be transferred to St. Petersburg in two phases: USD 40 million in the first half of 2003 if certain conditions were met in 2002, and USD 60 million at the beginning of 2004 if reforms were carried out in 2003.

The conditions of the municipal part of the loan require the St. Petersburg administration to determine which programmes are of highest priority. In the spring of 2002 the administration named these as the creation of an effective system for controlling and regulating natural monopolies, assisting the development of private land and real estate markets, and drawing up an effective development budget.

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