BAKU, Azerbaijan, July 7
By Zeyni Jafarov - Trend:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $250 million loan to Azerbaijan to help implement a comprehensive plan to mitigate the adverse health, social and economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the bank's president Masatsugu Asakawa said, Trend reports on July 7 referring to a source in the ADB.
According to Asakawa, the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to nullify the significant gains made by Azerbaijan in improving its economy and reducing poverty.
He noted that ADB remains committed to supporting Azerbaijan, and this program will help the government maintain its response to the pandemic, protect vulnerable population categories and lay the foundation for economic recovery.
According to the ADB president, restrictions during the pandemic in Azerbaijan have led to a reduction in trade, tourism, remittances and consumer demand, while oil revenues have declined due to the global economic downturn.
"The bank's Proactive COVID-19 Response and Expenditure Support (CARES) program will provide budgetary support to the government's ongoing health, social protection and macroeconomic stabilization efforts," Asakawa said.
He further said that the government's health measures include additional payments to healthcare workers, the introduction of compulsory health insurance, the purchase of drugs and medical equipment, and the expansion of the capacity of medical facilities to test and treat patients with COVID-19.
In order to strengthen social protection, the Azerbaijani government has increased monthly benefits for low-income families and the number of households eligible for support to 80,000.
"To stabilize the economy, the government has taken measures, including creating 17,000 temporary government jobs, subsidizing interest rates on bank loans to businesses affected by the pandemic, and providing financial support to selected state-owned enterprises," added Asakawa.