ADB, Pakistan sign $300m Covid-19 emergency loan agreement

'The assistance will help govt continue with the provision of emergency cash to poor families'

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Pakistani government on Friday signed an agreement for a $300 million ’emergency assistance loan’ initially approved by the bank on May 19th.

Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed and ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang signed the loan agreement, which according to the officials would strengthen Pakistan’s public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic and help meet the basic needs of the poor and vulnerable.

Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division Secretary Yousuf Khan and National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) Chief Executive Nadeem Ahmed signed the project documents on the occasion.

“The ADB assistance signed today will support Pakistan’s social protection programme, Ehsaas, to continue providing emergency cash transfers to poor families and women,” said Ms Yang. “The project will also help swiftly upgrade medical facilities and procure necessary supplies for hospitals and frontline health workers, meet rapid training and capacity building needs, and purchase emergency vehicles to strengthen rescue capacity in remote border areas.”

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In April, the ADB reallocated $30 million from the National Disaster Risk Management Project to support Pakistan’s pandemic response and the NDRMF Board of Directors allocated an additional $20 million from earned interest from the endowment fund capitalized under the project.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian government has also contributed $5.28 million grant to strengthen the emergency response system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province amid the Covid-19 crisis.

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