ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (AfDB) has approved $1.5 billion in financing to help the Government of Pakistan provide social protection, promote food security and support employment for its population in a context devastating floods and global supply chain disruptions.

The loan, provided under the AfDB’s Building Resilience with Active Countercyclical Expenditures (BRACE) program, will help finance the government’s $2.3 billion countercyclical development spending program designed to cushion the impacts of external shocks, including including the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“Pakistan’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic has been hampered by external shocks,” said AfDB Managing Director for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov. “Rising business costs and rising living expenses are affecting millions of Pakistanis, especially the poor and vulnerable. The AfDB program will help the government manage the impacts of high prices, increased food insecurity, slower business activity and reduced incomes for vulnerable groups, many of whom are also reeling from the floods devastating.

Flood relief: AfDB ‘working quickly to deliver significant aid’ to Pakistan

The AfDB financing will provide the fiscal space needed for the government to implement its counter-cyclical development spending program, which is designed to target the poorest families in Pakistan who are often disproportionately affected in times of crisis. Government support includes specific measures to promote women’s empowerment and adaptation to climate change, which have become even more important in light of the recent floods.

AfDB assistance will help increase the number of families receiving cash transfers from 7.9 million to 9 million, increase the number of children enrolled in primary and secondary schools and improve the geographical coverage of health services and nutritional supplies for pregnant and lactating women and children. less than two years.

“The program is part of a comprehensive and well-coordinated package of support. It will help the government cope with the impact of immediate shocks on the economy, while at the same time pursuing the structural reforms necessary to improve the country’s medium and long-term macroeconomic prospects,” said the Director of Public Management of AfDB, Financial Sector and Trade Tariq Niazi. “We are working closely with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other development partners to ensure that our support through policy dialogue, technical assistance and program lending is well coordinated and ultimately, we are able to help the government improve Pakistan’s resilience to shocks”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022