Pakistan launching $595 million funding appeal

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is launching a $595 million funding appeal for meeting its needs for halting the spread of the coronavirus and recovering from its impact.

The appeal will be launched at a virtual event on Thursday. Besides Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other senior Pakistani officials, the meeting will also be attended by World Health Organisa­tion director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Asian Development Bank’s vice president and the World Bank’s managing director.

“The Government of Pakistan is launching an initial US$ 595 million coordinated multi-sectoral Prepared­ness and Response Plan to combat Covid-19 in a bid to suppress and mitigate the spread of Coronavirus,” a statement from the Foreign Office said.

It further said the donors would be asked “to fund and participate in combating the immediate and long-term impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on health sector”.

FO spokesperson Aisha Farooqui, said a plan for dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic was being presented to the United Nations, multilateral donors and other countries. The plan, she said, identified funding gaps for dealing with the challenge.

She said it is expected that countries and donor organisations would come forward with pledges.

The appeal has been developed jointly by the National Disaster Management Authority and other government agencies involved in the fight against Covid-19.

Pakistan has earlier got $1.4 billion under IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument for addressing the economic impact of Covid-19. The World Bank separately provided $238m loan for strengthening the country’s national healthcare systems, mitigating socioeconomic disruptions and procuring urgently needed medical equipment and supplies.

The Asian Development Bank had, meanwhile, chipped in with a $2.5m grant for funding immediate purchase of emergency medical supplies, personal protective equipment, diagnostic and laboratory supplies and other equipment.

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