The North Macedonia Emergency COVID-19 project was recently approved to help limit the local transmission of COVID-19 and strengthen preparedness for future pandemics. This project will help efforts to safeguard people from the pandemic, address urgent health priorities, and provide social assistance for the most vulnerable people in the country. More information about the project is available at this link: https://projects.worldbank.org/en/projects-operations/document-detail/P173916
The World Bank is aware of the recent discussion in the media about the project. We have done due diligence on the integrity of the project design and take seriously concerns raised about the project and its implementation. Here are the facts about the project:
- The project will support the Republic of North Macedonia to detect, prevent, and respond to the threat of COVID-19 and to strengthen the public health system.
- The health component will strengthen the capacity of the health system to identify and properly manage COVID-19 cases, including boosting the ability of the Health Insurance Fund to cover the increased costs of health services.
- The social protection component will provide temporary income support to eligible individuals and households economically affected by measures needed to limit the spread of the virus including physical distancing and other restrictions.
The World Bank has zero tolerance for fraud and corruption and takes very seriously our obligation to ensure that World Bank Group funds are used for clearly defined activities and reach the intended beneficiaries.
World Bank procurement guidelines will apply to procurement of health supplies, equipment and services. Cash-transfers to households are regulated by clear eligibility criteria and have oversight and control mechanisms.
World Bank financed contracts have clauses that allow us to inspect suppliers and bidders’ files in case of suspected fraud and corruption. The World Bank will also look for red flags in the procurement process, supply chain and payments.
As in all World Bank operations, checks are in place to help address fiduciary risks. We ensure appropriate financial management arrangements are in place for each operation as part of the preparation phase. We will continue to closely monitor fiduciary risks and apply mitigation measures during project implementation. Measures include a regular review of the project fiduciary arrangements, reviews of procurement transactions, periodic financial reports, and an external audit of project financial statements.