Skopje, 12th November 2014 (MIA) – European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has approved loans in the total amount of EUR 305 million to the Republic of Macedonia as follows: EUR 145 million for the second phase of the railroad tracks towards Bulgaria, i.e. Beljakovce – Kriva Palanka, and EUR 160 million for the National Roads Program.

The loan is extended under exceptionally favourable conditions (terms and conditions are the same for both loans): 15-year repayment period, with 4-year grace period and interest rate which accounts for 1.15% at the moment (6-month EURIBOR plus 1%), Ministry of Finance announced.

Funds necessary for completion of the second phase for connecting the railroad tracks towards the Republic of Bulgaria are provided under the Loan in the amount of EUR 145 million, approved by EBRD for construction and reconstruction of the existing parts of the railroad tracks from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka.  Construction of this rail section will provide for creation of favourable conditions to steer the economy towards the international and the global market, encourage investments and increase the gross domestic product.

For the purpose of quality preparation of the second phase, EBRD, under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF), extended grant to the Republic of Macedonia in the amount of EUR 5,700,000 for preparation of the main project and covering part of the costs related to the supervision of the construction works. EBRD will also extend grant in the amount of EUR 670,000 for consultancy services for Project implementation.

With respect to third section of Rail Corridor VIII: Kriva Palanka – border with the Republic of Bulgaria, funds will be provided after all preparatory activities are completed. Funds therefore will be provided under a grant from IPA 2014 – 2020 and a loan from international financial institutions.

EBRD also extended EUR 160 billion for the National Roads Program. This Project is part of the Government policy aimed at improving the quality of road infrastructure in the Republic of Macedonia.  The Project will be implemented by Public Enterprise for State Roads.

Financing for implementation of the National Roads Program will be provided in two tranches: the first tranche in the amount of EUR 74 million will be used for construction of an express road, section from bridge on Raec River – Drenovo intersection, as well as for reconstruction of Stip – Kocani road section as an express road. By reconstructing the existing road Stip – Kocani as an express road, existing problems will be resolved, while the speed limit will be increased from the present 50(60) km/h to 100 km/h. The existing road will be reconstructed and its width will be expanded from 6.5 m to 12 m, covering 26 km in length. The route starts from Stip, to the settlements of Cardaklija, Dolni Balavan, Krupiste, Ciflik, Oblesevo, ending at Kocani.  The express road will be of great significance for the economic development of eastern Macedonia, in particular the agricultural development.

Te second tranche in the total amount of EUR 86 million will be intended for construction of the following road sections: Ohrid – Pestani express road and Struga – Trebeniste highway. New Ohrid – Pestani express road, long 14.5 km, will be constructed parallel to the existing road by the beaches, and it will be connected with side local roads later on. Construction of this section as an express road will facilitate the traffic through the settlements, especially during the summer period. Trebeniste – Struga highway section is long 8.5 km. Construction of new section is envisaged, with a road with two lanes, 3.75 m wide, in both directions and a shoulder (stopping lane), 2.5 m wide, in both directions. Envisaged speed limit will be 120(130) km/h.

Following the adoption of the draft laws for these loans, agreements between the Republic of Macedonia and EBRD and “Macedonia Railways”, i.e. Public Enterprise for State Roads, will be concluded.

EUR 305 million used as investments in infrastructure projects provide for job creation, work for the Macedonian companies and economic development of the country. As stated in MoF Press Release, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development thus supports the public investment policies the Macedonian Government implements.

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