Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa and Nepal Finance Minister and ADB Governor Yuba Raj Khatiwada today discussed ADB’s support to Nepal in its fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Asakawa commended the government’s decisive actions to control the spread of the virus and manage its impact on public health and the national economy, particularly through the government’s $1.26 billion comprehensive National Relief Program. Nepal’s response aims at strengthening the medical system capacity, lessening the economic strain on individuals, especially the poor and vulnerable, and supporting businesses, which have been severely affected by the economic slowdown.
“ADB is committed to supporting the government’s needs in these most challenging times,” said Mr. Asakawa. “We are accelerating the processing of a quick budget support loan with affordable terms and conditions to respond to the government’s request for assistance in strengthening the health system and mitigating the economic and social impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Khatiwada thanked ADB for its support and reiterated the government’s strong commitment to carry out immediate containment measures, social protection for the poor and vulnerable, and economic support for the affected sectors of the economy. The pandemic is causing disruptions in industry and services in Nepal. Tourism, remittance inflows, as well as domestic trade and transportation have been hit hard. The Government of Nepal has requested ADB for immediate assistance amounting to $250 million.
ADB has a strong track record of responding rapidly to support Nepal in times of emergencies and has already provided a $300,000 grant to procure medical supplies, in close collaboration with UNICEF. This grant will finance urgently needed and critical personal protective equipment to enable medical personnel to safely treat infected patients. Additional grant resources are being explored for expanding supply of essential medical goods to combat the virus outbreak. ADB works closely with the government and development partners to provide policy advice and develop measures to deal with social and economic impacts of the pandemic.
In close collaboration with other development partners, ADB is accelerating its efforts in providing further support to Nepal from the expanded COVID-19 response package of $20 billion announced on 13 April, with approved measures to streamline its operations for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance. ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about our ongoing response.