ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday approved and immediately signed a $ 500 million loan to help Pakistan procure and deploy safe and effective coronavirus vaccines and build the country’s capacity to implement its vaccination program.
The loan will support Pakistan’s National Deployment and Vaccination Plan (NDVP) through the purchase and delivery of approximately 39.8 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, safety boxes and syringes, sufficient to vaccinate in least 18.1 million people from priority groups, the AfDB said in a statement.
Shortly after the approval of the Covid-19 vaccine support project under the Asia-Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, the funding agreement was signed by the additional secretary of the Ministry of Business. (MEA) Zulfiqar Haider and AfDB Acting Country Director Cleo Kawawaki.
Last month, the ECC called for acquiring donor funds
The signing took place within three hours, on an expedited basis, after the approval of the loan by the AfDB Board of Directors earlier today. Minister of Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan attended the signing ceremony.
At the end of last month, the Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) ordered the MEA and the Department of National Health Services to secure donor funds for the purchase of vaccines to avoid depletion of reserves. tight exchange rates of the country.
Under the loan agreement, the AfDB will provide up to $ 150 million in retroactive financing for vaccines already purchased, while the remaining $ 350 million will be used in the coming months for the purchase of vaccines. new vaccines.
âVaccines help reduce the spread and mortality of Covid-19, restore the confidence of citizens and are vital for economic recovery,â AfDB President Masatsugu Asakawa said. “The AfDB reaffirms its full commitment to support Pakistan,” said Mr. Asakawa.
He said the loan would help protect vulnerable groups in the country and was an integral part of development partners’ agenda to help the government mitigate the health, social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
Minister Omar Ayub thanked the management and board of directors of the AfDB for extending the rapid and rapid processing of financial support to Pakistan in this difficult time when the country was facing increasing health and socio-economic challenges in the mid of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He is committed to ensuring the timely supply of vaccine with an uninterrupted supply chain to achieve the goal of immunizing people.
The government aims to immunize the entire eligible population, i.e. around 119 million people including all people aged 18 and over, giving priority to frontline health workers, the elderly, groups marginalized, including refugees and internally displaced people, and people with co-morbidities.
The loan is funded through the AfDB’s $ 9 billion Asia-Pacific Vaccine Access Facility, launched in December 2020 to provide rapid and equitable vaccine support to developing member countries of the AfDB.
AfDB assistance will also help strengthen the capacity of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and the Expanded Federal Program on Immunization to effectively implement the Covid-19 vaccination program.
Posted in Dawn, August 7, 2021