ADB President, Pakistan Minister of Economic Affairs Discuss Scaling Up Support to Combat COVID-19

News Release | 24 April 2020

MANILA, PHILIPPINES (24 April 2020) — Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa and Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and ADB Governor Makhdoom Khusro Bukhtiar today discussed how ADB can scale up its support for the government’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan has already led to significant loss of life and livelihoods, and continues to pose serious health and economic risks to the people of Pakistan,” said Mr. Asakawa. “ADB is firmly committed to helping Pakistan fight this pandemic, reduce the impact on the poorest and most vulnerable groups across the country, and protect the economy.”

ADB is preparing an emergency assistance package to provide immediate and flexible financing to help Pakistan combat the COVID-19 outbreak, revitalize economic activity for affected communities, and support the basic needs of vulnerable and poor segments of society. ADB is also working to mobilize additional grant funding for Pakistan and specific measures to support the private sector.

Mr. Asakawa commended the government for its swift response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. This includes an economic stimulus package that will support families and businesses, and timely policy measures, including lowering interest rates and announcing new refinancing facilities.

Mr. Bukhtiar expressed appreciation for ADB’s timely and continued support for Pakistan.

On 9 April, ADB repurposed $50 million from Pakistan’s National Disaster Risk Management Fund to procure medical equipment to strengthen hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, isolation units, and other medical facilities in the country. These supplies have begun to arrive in Pakistan and are being delivered to frontline health workers, while the bank is working intensively to deliver further supplies under this assistance.

Last month, ADB approved $2.5 million in immediate response grant funding to help Pakistan purchase personal protective equipment and other emergency medical supplies. This consisted of $2 million from ADB’s Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund and $500,000 for procurement of supplies through UNICEF.

These are part of ADB’s expanded support package of $20 billion announced on 13 April to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries, including Pakistan, as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB also approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about our ongoing response.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.