Pakistan launches $595m funding appeal to meet pandemic challenge

Published April 24, 2020
World Bank pledges $240m package, ADB preparing $300m emergency loan. — DawnNewsTV/File
World Bank pledges $240m package, ADB preparing $300m emergency loan. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Amid warnings that the viral disease could worsen, Pakistan on Thursday launched a $595 million funding appeal, in collaboration with the United Nations and its partner organisations, for meeting the country’s urgent needs in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling its socio-economic impact.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while speaking at the virtual launch, said Pakistan was requesting its bilateral and multilateral partners to help it strengthen its healthcare infrastructure and create a fiscal space to deal with the challenge and its implications.

The requirements for which the funding appeal was launched were identified in the multi-sectoral Prepa­redness and Response Plan to combat Covid-19. The primary objective of the plan is to deal with the immediate and long-term impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on Pakistan’s health sector.

He said Covid-19 was a “common en­­­e­­my” dealing with which required a “com­mon agenda and common strategy”.

World Bank pledges $240m package, ADB preparing $300m emergency loan

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, on this occasion, said that the forecast for the disease in Pakistan was “quite terrifying” for the coming weeks and months. He said the plan identified the immediate gaps till the end of the current year. He said local transmission of the disease was now in 79 per cent of the cases and it was no more an imported phenomenon.

Director General of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom said threat to Pakistan was real. He said it was time to act and a coordinated and coherent approach was needed to help Pakistan.

The Foreign Office said in a statement that the World Bank had immediately made available a $240m package to help Pakistan take effective and timely action to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, World Bank Regional Vice President for South Asia Hartwig Schafer described the response plan as a critical step.

The Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Develo­pment of the Asian Development Bank, Bambang Susantono, said his bank was preparing an emergency loan package of $300m for Pakistan which would go towards cash disbursements by the government and health measures.

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2020

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