July 25, 2008

Kyrgyz Premier, World Bank Officials Discuss Energy Loans

Excerpt from report by privately-owned Kyrgyz AKIpress news agency website

Bishkek, 25 July: Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov met the head of the World Bank's office in Kyrgyzstan, Roger Robinson, and a sector manager, and an acting regional director of the World Bank in Central Asia, Moto Koichi [name transliterated].

The government's press service said that the sides discussed the current state of the Kyrgyz economy at the meeting. They paid much attention to the issues of ensuring food and energy security.

Chudinov said that the government was taking unusual measures to ensure a normal situation in the coming autumn-winter period. In particular, consumption of electricity was limited, limits on consumption of electricity by state bodies were reduced, winter school holidays were considerably extended and others.

The prime minister said that this happened due to a low level of water at the Toktogul hydroelectric power station. "Kyrgyzstan has not had such a low level of water since 1972," Chudinov said.

He also said that Kyrgyzstan should increase production of electricity at the Bishkek thermal power plant. However, there was a problem with supplying necessary volumes of fuel [to the power station].

Kyrgyzstan exported only 400 MW [of electricity] this year. Money received from the export was enough to cover only 40 per cent of the thermal power plant's needs. At the same time, the prime minister said that the talks with neighbouring countries on importing 1bn kWh of electricity produced no results.

Chudinov said that the price of supplying electricity from the neighbouring countries was very high and that it was cheaper to produce such amount of electricity at the Bishkek thermal power plant.

The prime minister asked the World Bank to allocate a loan for supplying the Bishkek thermal power plant with necessary volumes of fuel. Besides, he said that the World Bank could help support socially vulnerable layers of the population at the time of price rises.

For his part, Robinson said that the World Bank had allocated 42m dollars to Kyrgyzstan, one part of which had already been distributed. However, [he also said that] there were over 10m dollars left, which could be used as an emergency loan for supporting the Bishkek thermal power plant.

[Passage omitted: necessary documents should be prepared for obtaining the loan]

Originally published by AKIpress news agency website, Bishkek, in Russian 1032 25 Jul 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Central Asia. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.