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Coronavirus
LOW Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
28,728
1024hr
Pakistan Cases
1,284,840
47524hr
1.12% positivity
Sindh
475,616
Punjab
443,094
Balochistan
33,479
Islamabad
107,689
KPK
179,995

ISLAMABAD: The government of Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Friday signed financing agreement worth $500 million for “COVID-19 Vaccine Support Project under the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility.”

The ADB earlier in the day approved the $500 million loan to help the Government of Pakistan procure and deploy safe and effective coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines and strengthen the country’s capacity to implement its vaccination program.

Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan witnessed the signing ceremony of financing agreement.

The financing agreement was signed by Zulfiqar Haider, Additional Secretary, EAD and ADB’s Acting Country Director Cleo Kawawaki. The signing took place just within 3-hours on fast track basis after approval of the ADB Board earlier in the day.

Under this financing facility, ADB will provide $500 million for procurement of Covid-19 vaccine on highly concessional rates with 25-years repayment period including 5-years grace period. According to sources the interest rate for the $500 million is 2 percent.

The ADB’s assistance will also help to strengthen the capacity of Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination and Federal Expanded Programme on Immunization to effectively implement the COVID-19 vaccination program.

Threats of cellphone blocks, work bans boost Pakistan's vaccination rate

Both institutions will receive support in project management and coordination, procurement & supply chain management, gender mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, performance and information systems audits, and hospital waste management.

The bank will disburse up to $150 million as retroactive financing for already procured vaccines, while remaining $350 million is expected to be utilised in coming months for procurement of new vaccines.

The project will support Pakistan’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan by purchasing and delivering around 39.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, safety boxes and syringes, sufficient to vaccinate at least 18.1 million people from priority groups.

The government is aiming to vaccinate the entire eligible population, around 119 million people comprising all those aged 18 and over, prioritising frontline healthcare workers, the elderly, marginalised groups including refugees and internally displaced persons, and people with co-morbidities.

The federal minister appreciated the ADB management and Board of Directors for extending timely support to the Government of Pakistan at this difficult time when the country is facing increasing health-related and socioeconomic challenges amid COVID-19 pandemic. The minister reiterated that the government is committed to ensure timely procurement of vaccine with uninterrupted supply chain to meet the target of inoculating people.

He expressed that Pakistan’s efforts to curtail the Covid-19 pandemic through smart lock down approach and addressing the socioeconomic challenges through fiscal stimulus package under the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of lives and livelihoods are being highly appreciated by the global community.

ADB President MasatsuguAsakawa stated that vaccines would help to reduce the spread and mortality of Covid-19; restore confidence among citizens; and boost economic recovery.

“Vaccines help to reduce the spread and mortality of Covid-19, restore confidence among citizens, and are vital to the economic recovery,” said ADB President MasatsuguAsakawa.

“This project will help to protect vulnerable groups in Pakistan and is an integral part of the development partner package helping the government to mitigate the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic. ADB reaffirms its full commitment to supporting Pakistan.”

Eugene Zhukov, director general (CWRD), ADB expressed that the project is part of the ADB’s holistic support to Pakistan’s response to Covid-19 crisis to mitigate the adverse health, social and economic impact of the pandemic and strengthen the country’s immunisation system.

He also reiterated the ADB’s commitment to continue its technical and financial support to the Government of Pakistan for priority areas.

World Bank reallocates $150m for Pakistan to procure Covid-19 vaccines

The project is financed through the ADB’s $9 billion Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility launched in December 2020 to offer rapid and equitable vaccine-related support to the ADB developing member countries.

The ADB’s assistance will also help to strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, and the Federal Expanded Programme on Immunization to effectively implement the Covid-19 vaccination program. Both institutions will receive support in project management and coordination, procurement and supply chain management, gender mainstreaming, monitoring and evaluation, performance and information systems audits, and waste management.

The project builds on ADB’s earlier support for Pakistan’s Covid-19 response. This includes a $300 million emergency assistance loan to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response and expand treatment of Covid-19 cases. A $500 million Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support program loan was approved to support cash transfers to poor families and other government initiatives designed to alleviate the negative economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

A $2 million grant under the Asia Pacific Disaster Relief Fund to fund the immediate purchase of emergency medical supplies and equipment.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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