The Asian Development Bank on Thursday approved an additional $500 million loan to Bangladesh to manage the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s economy and the public health.
‘This package will build on ADB’s ongoing collaboration with Bangladesh on structural reforms by supporting government efforts to speed up the country’s social and economic recovery,’ said ADB president Masatsugu Asakawa. ‘We will work closely with the government and development partners to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on the poor and most vulnerable, particularly those affected by job losses in small and medium enterprises and the informal sector,’ the president said.
The assistance is part of ADB’s COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support programme, which is funded through the COVID-19 pandemic response option under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility. CPRO was established as part of ADB’s $20 billion expanded assistance for developing member countries’ response to the pandemic, which was announced on April 13, said a press release.
The loan is expected to benefit over 15 million poor and vulnerable people in Bangladesh. Around 1.5 million workers, mostly women, in export-oriented industries will receive extended salary support while doctors, nurses, and medical workers fighting COVID-19 in government-run hospitals will receive special honorarium. The government’s social protection programs for people of old-age and women in distress will be expanded to cover all eligible senior citizens and women in the 100 poorest local government units in the country. At least 2 million poor families across the country will be given about $23 each, while about 1 million poor and vulnerable families will receive food support of 20 kilograms per month during the pandemic emergency period. Affected industries and sectors, as well as micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises are also eligible for loans with subsidized interest.
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