The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Bangladesh on Wednesday signed $100 million loan agreement to support the Government’s efforts to address the immediate public health requirements for mitigating the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, reports UNB.
Fatima Yasmin, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), and Manmohan Parkash, Country Director, ADB, signed the loan agreements remotely, on behalf of Bangladesh and ADB respectively.
ADB’s Board of Directors approved the assistance on 30 April 2020.
“As a trusted development partner, we are pleased to offer $100 million to bolster the Government’s efforts in managing this catastrophic pandemic, which challenges Bangladesh’s recent successes in socio-economic development,” said Country Director Manmohan Parkash.
“Bangladesh has taken decisive actions to manage the COVID-19 outbreak and this assistance will support the Government’s efforts in mitigating the health sector challenges in short and medium terms.” I am confident the challenges will be met successfully through pragmatic policy decisions, and health sector capacity building and reforms,” Parkash added.
The assistance under the COVID-19 Response Emergency Assistance Project will help strengthen Bangladesh’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing urgently needed health equipment, medical supplies, diagnostic systems, and upgrading of the capacity of the health workforce. This project will support the immediate procurement of equipment and supplies for testing; upgrade of medical infrastructure; and the development of system and community capacities for surveillance, prevention, and response to the pandemic in Bangladesh.
The project will equip 17 medical college hospitals with isolation and critical care units. Capacity and quality of at least 19 laboratories will be upgraded with COVID-19 microbiological diagnostic facilities. At least 3,500 health sector workers, about 50 per cent of whom are women, will be trained in modern skills and knowledge, and the recruitment of more health professionals and technical staff will be supported.
The concessional assistance for the project will be sourced from ADB’s ordinary capital resources with an interest charge at the rate of 1.0 per cent per annum; a term of 40 years, including a grace period of 10 years; repayment of principal at 2.0 per cent per annum for the first 10 years after the grace period, and 4.0 per cent per annum thereafter.