March 25, 2020: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday said in view of the evolving situation due to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), the government had initiated negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an additional grant of $1.4 billion on fast-track basis.
The government's financial team had made a comprehensive funds mobilization strategy for acquiring $ 1 billion from the World Bank (WB) and $ 3.5 million from the Asian Development Bank, besides early release of $ 900 million earmarked by the latter for different projects, he said while addressing a press conference.
He was flanked by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Special Assistant to the PM on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Petroleum Nadeem Babar.
The adviser said the $1.4 billion grant would be in line with the previous programme Pakistan had with the fund, which would be disbursed at the earliest.
Minister Hammad Azhar said the government was fully focused and committed to facilitate the people in the critical situation.
The provision of medical facilities and food to the people was the topmost priority of the government and for that the government would pursue the WB and the ADB to release their aid amounting to $600 million on different counts on fast track basis, he added.
However, all the international financial institutions would be engaged for economic assistance when the coronavirus had been overcome, he said.
Hammad said,“We are also in coordination with Japan Intentional Cooperation Agency (JICA) to get assistance for providing facilities to the people in current situation.”
He said the government would provide facilities to the business community for continuing business activities sin the country.
Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said it was the government's priority government to save the domestic businesses, including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), retailers and labour.
SAPM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan said the media had been playing an important role in the current crisis and the government would take all necessary safety measures to protect the lives of journalists.