Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $1.7 billion to Pakistan during the ongoing calendar year for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
ADB would provide $800 million budgetary support to Pakistan by June 2020 while the remaining $900 million will be given by December 2020. The bank will provide this amount on concessional terms, according to the Economic Affairs Division.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar discussed the funding with the President of Asian Development Bank Masatsugu Asakawa. The Minister thanked the President of ADB for extending financial assistance of $2.5 million as grant and repurposing of $50 million for procurement of equipment relating to COVID-19 response in Pakistan.
He also requested the President ADB 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 & Competitiveness and Energy Sector to be approved by the Board of ADB before the end of 2020.
The Minister said that the socioeconomic impact of COVID 19 is more severe in the developing and low-income countries due to their limited technical and financial capacity. With this in mind, the Prime Minister of Pakistan appealed to the world community including bilateral and multilateral development partners for their joint support to address socio-economic challenges and debt relief for developing countries.
“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.
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.
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. It is also working to mobilize additional grant funding for Pakistan and specific measures to support the private sector.
On 9 April, the bank repurposed $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 13 April to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including Pakistan, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bank also approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and President ADB expressed their commitment to enhanced financial assistance for the socio-economic development of Pakistan especially after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.