The World Bank (WB) is discussing with the Azerbaijani government the possibility of financing COVID response measures in the country, Report informs referring to the WB.
In February 2021, the Government indicated its potential interest in accessing financing under the WBG MPA for COVID-19 response and a new rapid response operation is being discussed.
In September 2020, via Global Alliance for Vaccines, Azerbaijan joined Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX) with a committed amount of $21 million for a vaccine for nearly 10 percent of population.
The World Bank cooperates with development partners on pandemic response as well as in a wide range of knowledge sharing initiatives. In April 2020, the World Bank and IMF organized a workshop with the Ministry of Economy to discuss potential policy responses to address the needs of various sectors of the economy, and to share global knowledge and experience on mitigating the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic.
“The potential new MPA project currently being discussed with Government would complement the support of other international partners including: the new regional program of European Union (EU) in partnership with World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure local readiness and preparedness for safe and effective vaccination and the Asian Development Bank’s support for essential COVID-19 supplies (including Personal Protective Equipment, respirators, and bio-hazard management materials) and capacity-building of medical staff for infection prevention and control,” the bank said.
The World Bank has leveraged 9 million euros from the European Commission for a Rapid Technical Assistance Facility. This Trust Fund will be launched in 2021 and finance analytical and advisory work in areas crucial for management of, and recovery from the pandemic, including economic management, social inclusion, governance, and connectivity.
In order to protect the poor and vulnerable segments of the population, technical assistance was provided to Azerbaijan. The ongoing technical assistance (TA) on E-Health Strategy and Claims Management System Development ($738,000), financed through the Japan Policy and Human Resources Development Fund, aims to strengthen healthcare data management and will help authorities adapt new health service delivery platforms for home-based treatment protocols introduced as part of the COVID-19 response, as well as to restore the primary healthcare screening programs suspended due to the pandemic.
The South Caucasus TA on Social Protection and Economic Opportunities focuses on helping people with disabilities affected by COVID-19, including through policy formulation as well as targeted capacity building for the staff of the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population.
In turn, the Azerbaijani government has also enacted measures to reduce the severity of the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and the most vulnerable population. To date, the government has spent $1.16 billion (1.98 billion manats) from the state budget for the COVID-19 response, including support for public health needs and front-line worker salaries.
Other actions increased social benefits and concessions for businesses including: support to microentrepreneurs through partial employee salary coverage, temporary public jobs, subsistence and unemployment payments, targeted social assistance, education subsidies, interest payment subsidies, and tax benefits including various tax deferral measures and tax exemptions.