ADB keen to write a cheque of $500m
The Asian Development Bank might provide $500 million to Bangladesh in the beginning as budget support to be able to help the country improve its health system and assist the vulnerable groups as coronavirus is fast transmitting in the united states.
The amount may rise, said several finance ministry officials yesterday.
The Manila-based development lender has recently made commitment to the bigger ups of the government to approve the support within a week or two, the officials said.
"As a longstanding development partner, the ADB is focused on assisting Bangladesh in this difficult time. We have initiated the procedure of quickly exploring the financing modality and other details in close coordination with the federal government and other stakeholders," said Manmohan Parkash, country director of the ADB for Bangladesh, in a statement.
The Bangladesh government has requested the ADB to supply assistance to help tackle challenges of a potential COVID-19 outbreak in the united states, he said.
The press release premiered after Parkash's ending up in Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal in Dhaka. The discussions included the government's preparedness for mitigating any potential outbreak, its monetary impact, and possible ADB support carrying out a government request for assistance.
Parkash held several meetings with Kamal on the issue. The ADB also held a meeting with the health ministry.
The development lender would help Bangladesh procure testing kits, personal protective equipment for doctors and equipment for hospitals.
The ADB has occurrence in lots of countries and assured Bangladesh of using its reach to help the united states source the items.
The Manila-based multilateral lender also really wants to understand how many hospitals will be focused on treating coronavirus-affected patients, Kamal said last week.
The commitment from the ADB came as Bangladesh yesterday confirmed the next death from the coronavirus outbreak. On March 18, the federal government confirmed the first death from the novel coronavirus.
Yesterday, four more persons tested positive for the virus, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 24.
The ADB support would also be utilized to supply social protection to vulnerable groups.
The coronavirus pandemic could trigger a worldwide economic crisis, destroying up to 25 million jobs all over the world if governments do not act fast to shield personnel from the impact, said the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in a written report last week.
No matter size, all firms are facing serious difficulties from the coronavirus fallout such as for example immense declines in revenue, insolvencies and job cuts, said Tuomo Poutiainen, country director of the ILO Bangladesh.
"Sustaining their day-to-day operations will be particularly problematic for small and medium enterprises," he said, in a statement to The Daily Star, on Thursday.
As educational institutions across the country have already turn off to slow the spread of the virus and economic activities have slowed somewhat amid people's thinning presence on the streets, it has hit the low-income groups particularly hard.
The monetary pain for the low-income groups and those employed in the informal sector would exacerbate further if the problem worsens.
Business and employment would confront adverse impact if financial activities need to shut down in the event of coronavirus outbreak in the united states, said the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) yesterday in a briefing.
"Workers usually work under non permanent contractual arrangement particularly those work in small-scale and informal enterprises will be influenced most. Workers who work in labour-intensive formal and export-oriented industries would be adversely affected," the think-tank said.
The ADB has announced $6.5 billion initial package to handle the immediate needs of its developing member countries because they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lender's response to date also includes $2 million announced on 26 February to support response in every of its developing members.
The ADB has a strong track record of responding rapidly to provide targeted support to Bangladesh in times of emergencies, including natural disasters such as floods and cyclones and other disasters like influx of people in Cox's Bazar camps from across the Myanmar border.