Over 50% of ADB commitment to overcome Covid

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More than 50 per cent of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB’s) commitment to Sri Lanka last year (2021) was to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, data on a recently (last week) released ADB document showed.

The document titled ‘Sri Lanka Fact Sheet 2021’ showed that of the ADB’s total US$ 462.54 million commitment to the island last year, US$ 260 million (56.21 per cent) was COVID-19 related aid, including for the purchase of Covid-19 vaccines.

The next biggest chunk, 42.81 per cent (US$ 198.08 million) targeted the uplift of the private sector in a programme titled ‘Trade and Supply Chain Finance Programme’ (TSCFP), ADB statistics showed. “TSCFP were short-term ADB-financed commitments for private sector programmes with maturity of less than 365 days,” the ADB said. 

“In 2021, ADB disbursed US$ 684 million to Sri Lanka and committed US$ 460 million (as above) in project lending,” ADB said. Technical assistance commitments totalled US$ 3.95 million (0.85 per cent), ADB added. “ADB continued to provide support to strengthen GoSL’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, approving a US$ 150 million loan to procure vaccines, strengthen the health information system and build capacity for disease surveillance,” it said.

An additional US$ 110 million was approved to support an ongoing health project that was supported by an initial US$ 50 million loan, the ADB said. The additional loan will fulfil a financing gap created by the reallocation of funds for Covid-19 interventions and scale up primary and secondary healthcare in certain provinces, improve GoSL’s response capacity to Covid-19, and support e-learning in the health sector, it said.

Meanwhile, the disbursed US$ 200 million third tranche of a multitranche financing facility will upgrade and maintain rural roads to help advance rural economic and social development, ADB added. ADB’s above nominal technical assistance programme for Sri Lanka in 2021 included support for the implementation of education reforms, including capacity-building in the sector that will enable quick and flexible responses to future emergencies. The technical assistance programme also supported interventions to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy, it further said.

By Paneetha Ameresekere