How ADB is Helping Uzbekistan Fight COVID-19

Video | 25 June 2020

ADB has approved a $500 million loan to help the Government of Uzbekistan mitigate the adverse health and economic impacts of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program will help to fund the government’s comprehensive COVID-19 pandemic response plan.

This includes strengthening the readiness of the country’s health care system, supporting initiatives to help businesses affected by the downturn, minimizing job losses, and helping to expand existing social protection systems.

Transcript

Zamira and her partner had 2 restaurants employing 25 people and serving 18,500 customers per month.

They were thinking of opening their third restaurant when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Zamira Rakhmanova, Business owner: “Because of the pandemic we had to close one of our spots and let our employees stay home paying them a minimal wage. Our only plans for this year are to get back at least to 50% of income which we had before the pandemic.”

Small businesses are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Uzbekistan, about 80% of entrepreneurs have suspended their activities because of the nationwide lockdown…

More than 40% of these entrepreneurs are women

Downturn in international trade, tourist arrivals and remittances has further aggravated income losses for businesses, worsening unemployment

ADB’s $500 million program will help the government soften the blow of the pandemic on the economy.

Odilbek Isakov, Deputy Minister of Finance, Government of Uzbekistan: “From the very first days, government started supporting SMEs cutting taxes, providing tax deferrals as well as banks providing a lot of support to SMEs. During these difficult times, the Asian Development Bank has been very helpful to us. Recently approved $500 million budget support loan will help us a lot in providing further support during these difficult times.”

In addition to supporting SMEs, ADB’s program will help fund small-scale public works in the regions to create jobs

Çiğdem Akın, Senior Public Management Economist, Central and West Asia Department, Asian Development Bank: “The Program will help expand the government’s social and childcare assistance to nearly 250,000 additional low-income households…

It will also strengthen the health system capacity, including the frontline medical workers by equipping medical facilities with ventilators, testing kits and personal protective gear.”

Cindy Malvicini, Country Director, Uzbekistan Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank: “This program provides vital support to the government’s budget and COVID response plan. We continue to stand with Uzbekistan as it gets back on the path to growth.”