MONTENEGRO – The World Bank has approved 18 million dollars (14.7 million euros) to support, among other things, reform of Montenegro’s pension system.

The Washington-based lender said its board of directors has approved the credit “to support the reforms in Montenegro covering four broad policy areas”. These include the financial and energy sectors, pensions and health and public administration.

“The credit aims to build on and consolidate a number of reforms undertaken so far and supported by the World Bank and other donors,” the bank said in a statement.

“Pension, health and public administration reform would ultimately support ongoing fiscal consolidation. Increased institutional transparency and accountability and increased focus on implementation capacity are themes thread through each of the policy areas.”

The move follows a five million-dollar credit in June awarded to support Montenegro’s Pensions System Administration Investment Project.

The bank said then that the project would “improve the pension system through investment and capacity building in three areas”. They included tax and contribution collection and information management, the modernization of Pension Fund and “strengthening” the capacity for policy analysis.

In July, top officials from Serbia and Montenegro laid out planned changes to the countries’ pensions arrangements in a letter to the International Monetary Fund.

According to the letter Serbia would increase contribution rates to the Employee Pension Fund by 1.4 percentage points to 22%, or three billion dinars.