KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has initiated a number of measures to support the economy in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.
“One of the earliest measures taken by the SBP was to support hospitals by providing them a facility to meet their financial needs, namely the SBP Refinance Facility to Combat Covid-19 (RFCC), on March 17,” the central bank said in a statement on Monday.
Since then, the SBP has received several suggestions by stakeholders to further improve it.
Keeping those suggestions in view, the SBP said it decided to provide more flexibility under the RFCC to further facilitate the health sector.
“Hospitals and medical centres engaged in the fight against Covid-19 will now be allowed to avail financing against their existing equipment and purchase of refurbished equipment as well provided that they are used in creation of a special facility/ isolation ward to deal with the pandemic,” the SBP said.
“Moreover, maximum coverage of 60% of civil works for setting up a separate/ isolation facility has been enhanced to 100%,” the statement added. “Banks have been directed to ensure that financing extended under this facility is utilised for the intended purpose.”
The central bank held the belief that such measures would help hospitals and medical centres in availing the SBP’s refinance facility with ease.
Separately, the SBP took measures to facilitate bank customers who were facing extraordinary challenges due to the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
According to a statement issued on the same day, such customers can now approach the SBP through its helpline service in case their queries or complaints are not entertained by commercial banks.
“SBP also encourages the public to use digital payment services as much as possible to help banks in providing their services with minimal staff to ensure their safety,” it said.
To facilitate bank customers, the SBP advised all banks to ensure that their call centres/ helplines are available round the clock for instant customer support.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 7th, 2020.
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