ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday signed an agreement with Pakistan for an emergency loan of $ 300 million to help the country mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The board of directors of the Manila-based lending agency approved the emergency loan on May 19 to bolster Pakistan’s public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic and help meet the basic needs of poor people and vulnerable.
The agreement was signed on behalf of Pakistan by Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed and AfDB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang. Poverty Reduction and Social Security Division Secretary Yousuf Khan and National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF) Managing Director Nadeem Ahmed signed the project documents.
“AfDB assistance will support Pakistan’s Ehsaas social protection program to continue providing emergency cash transfers to poor families and women,” Yang said, adding that it would also help to rapidly upgrade facilities. and to purchase necessary supplies for hospitals and frontline health workers, meet rapid training and capacity building needs, and purchase emergency vehicles to build rescue capacity in remote border areas.
The project also aims to increase awareness of Covid-19 among marginal communities with limited connectivity to television or the Internet and will provide cash assistance for the direct benefit of women in poor households through the assistance program. emergency cash Ehsaas from the government, launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Government cash assistance is provided through its Ehsaas Kafalat welfare and welfare program.
“These payments are designed to meet the basic food needs and necessary living costs of the poor and vulnerable women and families who are the backbone of Pakistani society,” said the head of the project’s administration unit. AfDB and Zheng Wu project team co-leader.
Unconditional cash transfers help improve the nutritional intake of poor households and strengthen women’s economic empowerment, Wu said.
A statement said the Covid-19 pandemic was having a significant negative impact on the health and economic prospects of the Pakistani people and that the loan would help build Pakistan’s capacity to cope with the pandemic and other health emergencies. .
The Norwegian government has also provided a grant of $ 5.28 million to strengthen the emergency response system in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Pakistani government on Friday signed an agreement to expand support for Pakistan’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province through the NDRMF.
Posted in Dawn, June 6, 2020