The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today announced a US$6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries to respond the pandemic - Photo by ADB Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) today announced a US$6.5 billion initial package to address the immediate needs of its developing member countries to respond the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This pandemic has become a major global crisis. It requires forceful action at national, regional, and global levels. Based on close dialogue with our members and peer institutions, we are deploying this $6.5 billion rescue package to meet the immediate needs of our members,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa in a written statement released on March 18.

He stressed, that ADB stands ready to provide further financial assistance and policy advice down the road whenever the situation warrants, on top of the package.

The initial package includes approximately $3.6 billion in sovereign operations for a range of responses to the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, and $1.6 billion in non sovereign operations for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, domestic and regional trade, and firms directly impacted.

He said, ADB will also mobilize about $1 billion in concessional resources through reallocations from ongoing projects and assessing possible needs for contingencies. The Fund will make available $40 million in technical assistance and quick-disbursing grants.

To provide the support package to the members as quickly and flexibly as possible, the agency will seek adjustment in its financing instruments and business processes, said Asakawa. Subject to approval by ADB’ board of directors, this will include faster access to emergency budget support for economies facing severe fiscal constraints, streamlined procedures for policy-based lending, and universal procurement with flexible and faster processes.

The pandemic demands a coordinated response and strong collaboration among countries and organizations. ADB will further strengthen its close collaboration with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, regional development banks, the World Health Organization, and major bilateral funding agencies including the Japan International Cooperation Agency, as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and private sector organizations, to ensure effective implementation of its COVID-19 response.

He informed, since its first COVID-19 response on Feb. 7, 2020, ADB has already provided more than $225 million to meet urgent needs of both governments and businesses.

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