The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has provided a guarantee for a $25 million trade loan to the State Pharmaceuticals Corporation of Sri Lanka (SPC) to purchase medical supplies as part of the country’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The supplies, to be purchased by SPC with the loan, will include personal protective equipment such as N95 medical masks, surgical masks, as well as medicines to treat people who have tested positive to COVID-19,ADB said in a news release.
ADB’s Trade Finance Program guaranteed 85% of the trade loan extended by Standard Chartered Bank to the state-owned People’s Bank and onwards to SPC to support its import of these critical medical goods, ADB said.
“This assistance will help the State Pharmaceutical Corporation to purchase urgently needed medicines and protective equipment for frontline health workers and patients,” said Investment Specialist at ADB’s Trade Finance Program Roberto Leva. “Our partnership with Standard Chartered Bank has made it possible to deliver this assistance in a timely manner.”
With many economies severely impacted by the pandemic, this trade loan will enable SPC to fulfill its mission to ensure the flow of safe, effective, and high-quality medical supplies in Sri Lanka.
“Providing timely assistance in such unprecedented times is critical,” said the Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank, Sri Lanka, Bingumal Thewarathanthri. “We are committed to Sri Lanka where we have been present for over a century, especially as the country tackles this global pandemic. Through our long-standing partnership with both People’s Bank and ADB, we are pleased to jointly support the import of these essential medical items to combat COVID-19 in Sri Lanka.”
ADB announced on 13 April a tripling in the size of its response to the pandemic to $20 billion. The package expands on the $6.5 billion initial response announced on 18 March, adding $13.5 billion in resources to help ADB’s developing member countries counter the severe macroeconomic and health impacts caused by COVID-19.