Armenia launches power sector programme

The World Bank and Japan`s Overseas Economic Coopera-tion Fund (OECF) are to provide loans totalling $65m to Armenia for the development of the country`s electricity sector. The loans mark the start of a long-term project to restructure and improve Armenia`s energy system.

The loans will finance the Electricity Transmission and Distribution Project, including procurement, equipment, civil works and consulting services. The project consists of construction of a power transmission and distribution network across Armenia as well as the installation of consumption meters. It envisages improving power grid operation, cutting losses and increasing availability as part of a wider drive to increase the efficiency of the country`s energy system.

An effective charge collection system will be implemented to improve the country`s balance of international payments.

Armenia hopes to attract foreign investment to its energy sector by making energy production a commercial practice. Altogether, the World bank envisages allocating $53m to Armenia up to 2003 to meet these needs. The Armenian government has also prioritised the construction of new power generation capacity and the rehabilitation of existing plants.