The Minister of Social Policy Oksana Zholnovych met with the World Bank Vice President for the Europe and Central Asia Antonella Bassani. The meeting was also attended by First Deputy Minister Daria Marchak and Deputy Minister for European Integration Hanna Prorok. The World Bank was represented by Arup Banerji, Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe, Gevorg Sargsyan, Resident Country Manager in Ukraine, and Roman Kachur, Alternate Executive Director of the World Bank.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the main areas of further cooperation.
Oksana Zholnovych spoke about the priority projects implemented by the Ministry. In particular, the interlocutors discussed the deinstitutionalization of boarding schools and the development of family-based care, socialization and return to full life of people with disabilities, and reform of social services.
Currently, the Ministry is working on the implementation of the project Social Assistance System Modernization in Ukraine, which is supported by the World Bank. The project is aimed at implementing social reforms to reduce poverty and increase social protection of the most vulnerable groups in Ukraine.
To ensure efficient procurement under this project, the prospects of conducting procurement through the Prozorro electronic procurement system were discussed. Currently, an agreement on that has been reached at the technical level, and the Ministry of Social Policy is preparing relevant draft amendments to the regulations. The introduction of procurement under this project through the Prozorro system will increase competition, transparency and efficiency of the bidding process under the project.
The parties also discussed further cooperation with the World Bank in terms of financing new loan programs focused on supporting reforms in the social sector. In particular, this concerns increasing the level of digitalization of the social sphere, expanding support programs for low-income individuals, and creating a tool for co-financing certain priority and most deficient social services in communities from the state budget.
During the meeting, the international partners stated that the World Bank is ready to continue supporting the development of the social protection sector in Ukraine.
Oksana Zholnovych thanked the World Bank for its unprecedented support of Ukraine's social sector in the face of today's challenges, as well as for promoting reforms and improving the effectiveness of social support instruments.
"Finding ourselves in an extraordinary situation, we as a country must turn our challenges into new opportunities. Building a social support system with digital services, a competitive market for their provision, and targeted assistance so that people can overcome life's difficulties and return to a full and economically independent life is the path the Ministry will continue to follow," Oksana Zholnovych summed up.