The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Friday approved $1.5 billion in financing to help the government provide “social protection, promote food security and support employment” amid catastrophic flooding and global supply chain disruptions.

According to the statement issued by the ADB, the loan has been provided under the bank’s Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures (BRACE) Programme.

It will help fund the government’s $2.3bn countercyclical development expenditure programme that is structured to cushion the impacts of external shocks, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the statement said.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also took to Twitter to announce the development, stating that the “agreement signing and release of funds” would take place next week.

In the press release, ADB Central and West Asia Director General Yevgeniy Zhukov said Pakistan’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic had been impeded by external shocks.

He added that the programme would “help the government manage the impacts of high prices, increasing food insecurity, slowing business activity and reducing income for vulnerable groups”.

The ADB highlighted that the financing would help the poorest families as well as promote gender empowerment and climate change adaptation which were desperately needed considering the recent floods.

The funding also aims to “expand the number of families receiving cash transfers from 7.9 million to 9m, increase the number of children enrolled in primary and secondary schools, and enhance geographic coverage of health services and nutritional supplies for pregnant and lactating mothers and children under two”.

ADB Public Management, Financial Sector and Trade Director Tariq Niazi said that the programme would also help the government “continue structural reforms that are necessary to improve the country’s medium to long-term macroeconomics prospects”.

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