AIIB’s support against Covid-19

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ASIAN Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a loan of $ 250 million to help Pakistan strengthen its response to the social and economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. AIIB Vice President, Investment Operations, Konstantin Limitovskiy said this immediate support is critical and will contribute to the government’s efforts to mitigate pandemic-related shocks so that the country may continue on its path to sustainable development. The latest funding has brought the bank’s total support to Pakistan’s Covid-19 response to $ 750 million.
Indeed, AIIB having its headquarters in Beijing has emerged as one of the leading development partners of Pakistan. It has been providing its support for policy reforms and project financing in the key priority areas such as energy, road, social sector, water and irrigation and urban services. The bank’s Covid-19 related funding will go a long way in helping Pakistan mitigate the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic which has badly hit the economy. The pandemic is expected to have far reaching and long-term repercussions on growth. This may undermine the hard fought progress the country had achieved in restoring macro-economic stability. Already employment in the formal and informal sectors has seen a downturn with the poor, women and other vulnerable groups disproportionately affected. Hence, it is important the funds received from AIIB and other sources are utilized in the most prudent and sagacious manner that takes the economy towards revival. The government really deserves appreciation for timely providing cash assistance to the vulnerable groups as well as announcing packages for important sectors such as the construction and agriculture after the breakout of the contagion. Apart from focusing on revival of economic activities, the pandemic has also afforded us an opportunity to build our health infrastructure on a sound footing that could cater to the requirements of our population in the future. Steps such as domestic production of ventilators, masks and hand sanitizers should be taken forward and the medical industry be built in such a manner that also contributes to the country’s economy. In this regard, Pakistan can seek technical assistance from friends like China.

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