Pakistan Requests ADB for Early Approval of Funds

April 24, 2020: Asian Development Bank (ADB), President Masatsugu Asakawa and Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and ADB Governor, Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtyar on Friday discussed how ADB could scale up its support for the government’s response to the novel coronavirus disease.

“The outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan has already led to significant loss of life and livelihoods, and continues to pose serious health and economic risks to the people of Pakistan,” said Mr. Asakawa in a telephonic conversation with Khusro Bakhtyar. “ADB is firmly committed to helping Pakistan fight this pandemic, reduce the impact on the poorest and most vulnerable groups across the country, and protect the economy.” A statement issued by the ADB said “ADB is preparing an emergency assistance package to provide immediate and flexible financing to help Pakistan combat the COVID-19 outbreak, revitalize economic activity for affected communities, and support the basic needs of vulnerable and poor segments of society”.

The ADB is also working to mobilize additional grant funding for Pakistan and specific measures to support the private sector.

Asakawa commended the government for its swift response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This included an economic stimulus package that would support families and businesses, and timely policy measures, including lowering interest rates and announcing new refinancing facilities.

Khusro Bakhtiar expressed appreciation for ADB’s timely and continued support for Pakistan.

On April 09, ADB re-purposed $50 million from Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Management Fund to procure medical equipment to strengthen hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, isolation units, and other medical facilities in the country. These supplies have begun to arrive in Pakistan and are being delivered to frontline health workers, while the bank is working intensively to deliver further supplies under this assistance.

Last month, ADB approved $2.5 million in immediate response grant funding to help Pakistan purchase personal protective equipment and other emergency medical supplies. This consisted of $2 million from ADB’s Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund and $500,000 for procurement of supplies through UNICEF.

These are part of ADB’s expanded support package of $20 billion announced on April 13 to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including Pakistan, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ADB also approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about our ongoing response.

Meanwhile, according to a press release of Economic Affairs Division, the minister requested the ADB President for early approval of $500 million as Counter Cyclical Support and $300 million as Emergency Assistance Lending (EAL) within this financial year.

The minister also urged the President of ADB for his support to a pipeline of $900 million as various Policy Based Loans for reforms in Capital Markets, Trade and Competitiveness and Energy Sector to be approved by the Board of ADB before the end of 2020.

Khusro Bakhtyar expressed his views that the socioeconomic impact of COVID 19 was more severe in the developing and low-income countries due to their limited technical and financial capacity.

Keeping in view, the Prime Minister of Pakistan appealed to the world community including bilateral and multilateral development partners for their joint support to address socioeconomic challenges and debt relief for developing countries.

APP

Posted on: 2020-04-25T00:20:00+05:00

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