Donors line up to support Pakistan’s fight against coronavirus

Updated May 27 2020

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The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have provided large sums of financial assistance to the country. —AFP
The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have provided large sums of financial assistance to the country. —AFP

ISLAMABAD: Foreign aid inflow continues to rise as international donors are stepping up to provide emergency lending and financial assistance to Pakistan in its fight against Covid-19.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have provided large sums of financial assistance to the country. Various other donors are now also lining up to channel funding against the pandemic.

This funding is being channelled through public sector institutions and donors are showing satisfaction at the fiduciary and transparency safeguards put in place by the government.

The ADB initially contributed $30 million in the Pakistan National Emerg­ency and Response for Covid-19 project which was worth $50 million and hosted by the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF).

This project provided emergency medical equipment to the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) within 24 hours and helped procure Covid-19 testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The ADB has now also agreed to finance the Emergency Assistance for Fighting against Covid-19 Pandemic project worth $105m for the NDRMF. This project will also provide PPE and other necessary equipment in the fight against Covid-19.

The Norwegian government is also contributing to this project, showing a vast array of donors lining up to finance Pakistan’s anti-Covid-19 efforts.

The World Bank has restructured its Pakistan Hydromet and Ecosystems Restoration Services project, to be hosted at the NDRMF, to include a component for Covid-19.

The total project is worth $188m and a component of it will focus on job creation through forestry operations, protected areas management and the Clean and Green Pakistan project.

The government has also been approached by other donors such as the French Agency for Development and various governments wishing to provide funding for efforts to curb and contain the pandemic.

An official said donors appeared to be particularly attracted to public sector companies such as the NDRMF as they were impressed by the handling of multi-donor financial assistance and delivery of multi-sectoral projects.

“This is a landmark in fiduciary management for a public sector company which has only become functional during the tenure of the incumbent government,” he said.

The NDRMF has entered into various landmark agreements, with the ownership of the provincial governments, based on its mandate of disaster risk reduction.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2020