Skopje, 20th July 2012 (MIA) – Republic of Macedonia completed the financial plan for rehabilitation of the eastern part of Railroad Corridor 8 towards Bulgaria. European Bank for Reconstruction and Development provided funds in the amount of EUR 46.4 million under exceptionally favourable conditions.
This was announced by Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Zoran Stavreski, at the press conference today, pointing out that the project envisaged rehabilitation of Kumanovo – Beljakovce section, covering 31 km.
– Reconstruction of this section, and the overall construction of the railroad on Corridor 8, have become a reality after 15 years of not going anywhere. Republic of Macedonia can finally commence the realization of this significant project, the Minister said, adding that the railroad to Bulgaria was one of the key projects for the Macedonian economy.
Extended funds include 15-year repayment period, with 4-year grace period and interest rate of 1.7% at the moment.
Construction of the section is expected to be launched in the first quarter of 2013, while field works are to be completed in three to four years. Tender for construction should be announced in September this year, after the Loan Agreement with EBRD is adopted by the Parliament of the Republic of Macedonia.
The Minister emphasized that EBRD grant was also provided in the amount of EUR 2.5 million, funds to be used to finalize the overall project documentation and to be able to apply for the second phase of the project, which included construction of the railroad from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka, and the third phase covering the part from Kriva Palanka to the border with Bulgaria.
Expectations, as the Minister said, are that project documentation for the part from Beljakovce to Kriva Palanka is to be completed by the end of 2013, for EBRD Board to be able to approve the funds for realization of the second phase. – We will apply a phased approach. The fact that EBRD provided funds in the amount of EUR 46.4 million and a grant witnesses its full support of this project which Republic of Macedonia will realize in full, Stavreski pointed out.
He announced that activities will be undertaken pertaining to the project documentation for the western part of Corridor 8, i.e. the part from Kicevo to the Albanian border, for which EBRD funds are also used for the preparation of a feasibility study and the project documentation afterwards, and negotiations for EBRD loan will follow.
When posed a question by the journalists, the Minister emphasized that, for Macedonia being a land-locked country, railroad towards Bulgaria and towards Albania for accessing the harbours in Burgas and Durrës is of significance.