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The World Bank approves loan worth $500mn for Pakistan against Coronavirus battle

As Pakistan continues to suffer through many challenges due to Coronavirus outbreak, The World Bank has approved a $500mn loan programme for Pakistan.

The World Bank aims to provide best quality education and healthcare to children in Pakistan as well as to provide better opportunities for women.

The Securing Human Investments to Foster Transformation (SHIFT) programme will support Pakistan’s COVID-19 situation and deal with the emergency response.

The initiative will support greater coordination between provinces and federal authorities to immunize millions of children and reduce their risks of contracting polio and other diseases, said the World Bank.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic is impacting day-to-day life in Pakistan – not solely from economic disruptions but also additional stress on public services that jeopardise human capital accumulation,” said World Bank Country Director for Pakistan Illango Patchamuthu.

“This programme underscores the criticality of universal healthcare and social protection services that are durable to exogenous shocks such as Pakistan is facing now.”

According to the World Bank, the SHIFT supports three policy reforms aimed at improving social safety-net programmes.

Task Team Leader for the programme, Cristina Panasco Santos, said Pakistan’s ability to mitigate socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 depends on how quickly and efficiently social safety net programmes could reach those most in need.

“This programme supports alignment efforts between Ehsaas, safety nets provincial programs to ensure that the most vulnerable and affected populations are identified and receive assistance,” she said.

She further added, “We are supporting public health interventions, working to ensure the flow of critical supplies and equipment, and helping the private sector continue to operate and sustain jobs. We will be deploying up to $160 billion in financial support over 15 months to help more than 100 countries protect the poor and vulnerable, support businesses, and bolster economic recovery. This includes $50 billion of new IDA resources through grants and highly concessional loans.”

Cristina Panasco said the project would be financed from the International Development Association and would have a 30-year maturity with a five-year grace period.

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Arhama Altaf
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