ADB approves $200m loan for disaster management strategy

Published: November 25, 2016

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $200 million to bring a shift in Pakistan’s disaster management strategy amid the government’s apathy towards an area that requires more resources and efforts to deal with growing natural calamities.

The Manila-based lending agency on Thursday approved the $200 million first loan tranche to strengthen Pakistan’s disaster risk management, including support to the National Disaster Risk Management Fund (NDRMF), according to a hand-out issued by the lender.

It said the National Disaster Risk Management Fund would reduce the country’s vulnerability to disasters from natural hazards, and climate variability and change.

Out of $200 million, an amount of $125 million has been given on commercial terms while the remaining amount will be given out of the ADB’s concessionary lending arm. The federal government would give the money to the fund as a grant.

However, the fund remains non-operational even after almost two years of its announcement, showing the government’s apathy towards an area that is causing human and economic losses due to growing natural calamities.

The government is in the process of registering the fund as a company with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, said an official of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs.

He said once these formalities are completed, the government would transfer the money into the fund. However, two years is a too long period for getting a company registered and make it operational

The government has decided to appoint four federal secretaries – finance, economic affairs, climate change and planning and development – as directors of the company.

The total size of the fund will be in the range of $1 billion to $1.2 billion, depending upon the ADB’s total contribution. Initially, the ADB had promised to give $750 million, but the government is urging the lender to increase the contribution to $1 billion, said the officials. The government’s share will be $250 million.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 25th, 2016.

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