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Macedonia - Water Utility Improvement Project (Inglês)

The project had two objectives: Improve the operational efficiency of Skopje Vodovod, the largest water and wastewater utility in the country, to enable it to provide quality service at affordable prices to the population; and Provide a sound basis for the future development of the solid waste sector in Skopje. As per the Bank's policy (OP 13.00), due to the 18 month delay in effectiveness, the Loan and Credit Agreements lapsed. The approach taken by the City Council to focus on institutional aspects was correct and as a result it was reflected in the project design. However, the willingness to implement the institutional reform waned as the socio political situation in the country changed with the internal strife. Priorities and political alliances shifted after the Board approval which was the primary cause for the Loan and Credit Agreements to lapse. Even if the operating company (OC) was not included as part of the project design, without the political willingness, it would be difficult to bring about efficiency improvements in the water utility. Commitment from the city would be required to reduce unaccounted for water, increase tariffs and bill collection rates, improve employee productivity etc., by not agreeing to sign the Project Agreement, the City Council demonstrated that they were not ready to address these difficult issues. In a recent assessment made by the Government, urban poverty remains as a key priority. There are about 100 slum settlements in the country where citizens lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation and sanitation, and environmentally friendly solid waste management services.

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