Nepal has signed a USD 250 million (Rs 30 billion aprox.) loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to fight coronavirus. Finance Secretary Sishir Kumar Dhungana, and Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, ADB Country Director for Nepal signed agreement papers amid a function organised at the Ministry of Finance (ADB) on June 1. Finance Minister Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada and other high officials of the government and ADB were present during the function. As per the agreement, the Manila-based lender will lend the money to Nepal under its COVID-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) Programme.
ADB will provide the concessional loan as a budgetary support to help the government to strengthen the country’s public health infrastructure. The loan will be utilised in scaling up testing, tracing and tracking of Covid-19 cases, establishing isolation facilities across the country and strengthening existing hospitals and health centres in terms of equipment, medicine and workforce. Similarly, ADB will also support Nepal to mitigate the adverse economic and social impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic through its CARES Programme.
Speaking on the occasion Finance Secretary Dhungana said, “This loan will be mobilized through the National Relief Programme of the government which targets to enhance public health system, provide social security and generate employment to face the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.” ADB country director for Nepal Khamudkhanov reiterated the bank’s commitment to support Nepal during difficult times.