$1.5bn loan agreements signed to fight virus

Published June 20, 2020
According to the Prime Minister Office, the agreements were signed with the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ABB) and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB).  — Photo courtesy: Twitter/File
According to the Prime Minister Office, the agreements were signed with the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ABB) and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB). — Photo courtesy: Twitter/File

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday witnessed the signing ceremony of $1.5 billion loan agreements with three international financial institutions for combating the Covid-19 crisis.

According to the Prime Minister Office, the agreements were signed with the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ABB) and Asian Infrastructure Development Bank (AIIB).

An agreement is related to Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme (CARES) amounting to $500 million:

The ADB is extending $500m under the Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Programme aimed at supporting the Pakistan government’s efforts to strengthen the health system and mitigate socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic.

The AIIB is extending co-financing of $500m under the same programme to augment the government’s efforts to mitigate direct and indirect impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sindh leads other provinces in number of coronavirus cases; 5,551 cases, 130 deaths reported across country in single day; complaint management system for healthcare workers launched

Another agreement relates to the Securing Human Investments to Foster Transformation worth $500m. It aims to strengthen the civil registration and vital statistics, health and education systems essential for human capital accumulation, recognise and support the contribution of women to economic productivity and improve efficiency of the national safety nets.

Economic Affairs Secretary Noor Ahmed signed the three loan agreements on behalf of the government of Pakistan and WB Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan and ADB Country Director Xiaohong Yang on behalf of the World Bank, ADB and AIIB.

The $1,500m loan amount will be disbursed to Pakistan in the next few days.

Sindh leads in Covid-19 cases

Sindh is leading other provinces in terms of number of coronavirus cases as it surpassed the 65,000 mark on Friday.

The country reported 5,387 Covid-19 cases and 129 deaths over the past 24 hours, taking the national tally of cases to 167,956 and casualties to 3,278.

According to Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, 13,642 tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, of which 2,894 were positive, taking the provincial tally to 65,163 cases. The province also reported its highest single-day death toll at 49, taking the total fatalities to 1,013. About 673 patients are said to be in critical condition, while 113 are on ventilators. A total of 1,691 people recovered from the virus during the last 24 hours, taking the tally to 32,725.

Punjab has so far reported 61,678 cases, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 20,182, Balochistan 8,998, Islamabad 9,941, Gilgit-Baltistan 1,225 and Azad Kashmir 769 cases.

Complaint management system

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Zafar Mirza said the government had launched a complaint management system to address the grievances of healthcare workers.

Addressing the media after a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre, he said the healthcare workers could call on 1166 or message through WhatsApp on +923001111166 to register their complaints.

“When a complaint is received, the staff will determine which province the complaint is from and its category and then it will be forwarded to the government’s focal point in that province,” he said, adding that the staff would also call back the healthcare workers to inform them about the status of their complaint and how it has been resolved.

He said the healthcare workers were on the frontline of the government’s response to Covid-19. “Therefore, the prime minister as well as federal and provincial governments have made [healthcare workers] their foremost priority,” he added.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2020

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