ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will seek another $305 million in loans from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support its preventive and response efforts to fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, it was learnt on Tuesday.
Officials said the government approved concept clearance paper for seeking a loan from the Manila-based ADB for emergency assistance and fighting against COVID-19 pandemic,
A meeting of the concept clearance committee was held on 4 May to discuss the financing plan being offered by the ADB in the efforts to support the virus emergency relief services worth $305 million.
Government exploring avenues to expand relief
The meeting was chaired by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Jahanzeb Khan and attended by a delegation of ADB led by the country director Xiaohong Yang. ADB will provide $200 million for social protection for the poor and vulnerable and $105 million for public health emergency preparedness, according to The News.
Khan said the government is exploring avenues to provide assistance to those directly affected by the corona pandemic and who were previously not eligible for financial assistance under social protection program.
Various modalities for the provision of the funding to the government under the loan agreement were discussed. The forum accorded approval for the ADB loan, which will be implemented through the National Disaster Risk Management Fund for execution in provinces and special areas as a grant.
Loan proposal focuses on stockpiling of stories, health inventories
The loan proposal focuses on stockpiling of stores and health inventories for any unexpected surge and to sustain the provision of personal protective equipment and medical supplies throughout corona pandemic.
The proposal also envisaged up gradation of existing facilities or adding additional space within existing facilities, training of health staff, strengthening of the health management systems.
These include inventory control, disease surveillance, and standard protocols, as well as the provision of water and sanitation facilities and improvement of hygiene at public places.
ADB repurposes $50mn for virus relief
Earlier this month, ADB repurposed $50 million from the National Disaster Risk Management Fund for virus relief. The funds included the reallocation of $30 million of previously approved but unutilised resources.
ADB processed a change in scope of its project, enabling the repurposing and immediate use of these resources in the fight against COVID-19. Besides, ADB last month approved a further $2 million grant to support the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus in the country.
The grant, financed from the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund, will help fund the immediate purchase of emergency medical supplies, personal protective equipment, diagnostic and laboratory supplies, and other equipment.
It supplements an initial $500,000 approved by ADB on 20 March, which is already being deployed to support Pakistan’s procurement of emergency supplies.