ADB assures Bangladesh of emergency assistance

Kamal seeks $600 million to implement emergency response measures

ADB emergency assistance
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has assured Bangladesh of providing emergency assistance to support addressing the challenges emerged out the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“As a trusted and long-standing development partner, ADB is committed to supporting Bangladesh as it addresses the significant challenges presented by COVID-19,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.

“We are working hard to respond to the government’s request of US$600 million for emergency assistance to help it effectively implement its response measures.”

The ADB president made the assurance during a discussion with Bangladesh Finance Minister and ADB Governor AHM Mustafa Kamal on the multilateral development bank’s support to Bangladesh on Monday.

The widespread economic slowdown caused by the pandemic is disrupting Bangladesh’s export and manufacturing supply chains, as well as other economic activities, said a statement ADB issued in Manila.

It added that this is straining the large number of readymade garment industries; micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises; and the livelihood of formal and informal laborers across the country.

Mr. Asakawa appreciated the Bangladesh government’s decisive efforts to control the spread of the disease and manage its impact on health, welfare, and the economy.

These efforts include the recent incentives and stimulus package of $11.3 billion for widening social safety net coverage, salary support to workers at export-oriented industries, low-interest loans to affected industries and farmers, and increasing monetary supply.

During the discussion, Mr. Kamal reiterated his government’s strong commitment to implement the recently announced incentives and stimulus packages to support vulnerable groups.

ADB has a strong track record of responding rapidly to provide targeted support to Bangladesh in times of emergencies.

In response to the pandemic, ADB has already provided immediate support, including a $350,000 emergency grant for procurement of medical supplies and equipment, and $1.3 million from an existing project to provide one-time cash support to 22,619 trainees to enable them to continue their ongoing skills training programme.

Additional grant assistance is also being explored to support the purchase of urgently needed medical supplies.

On 13 April, ADB tripled the size of its initial response to COVID-19 to $20 billion and approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance to help its developing member countries counter the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by the pandemic. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice, said the statement.

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