The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has stumped up $200 million for companies that make and distribute supplies needed in Southeast Asia’s fight against the novel coronavirus/ COVID-19 outbreak.
The money is meant to provide strained Asia-Pacific companies with the working capital needed to increase production of essential products, including medicine and protective equipment, the ADB said in a statement on Friday.
“The support will target companies in the supply chain that are critical to fighting the virus”, said Steven Beck, the ADB’s head of Trade and Supply Chain Finance. “We’re looking to support companies that want to ramp up production and therefore need to engage suppliers”.
The ADB on Friday (March 13) closed its Manila headquarters and asked employees to temporarily work from home after learning that a visitor to the offices had tested positive for COVID-19.
“The safety of staff, visitors to the bank, and their families is of utmost importance to us. We are providing support to staff who interacted with the visitor”, said Deborah Stokes, the vice president for administration and corporate management.
The ADB said it would decide in coming days when to reopen the head office.
Money available within weeks
The funding made available on Friday came through the ADB’s Supply Chain Finance Program (SCFP), with the bank planning to distribute the money to selected companies within weeks.
The bank said its analysts were closely monitoring the impact of COVID-19 on trade finance and were in regular contact with client banks to assess the situation.
The $200 million could support more than $400 million of additional financing over the next 12 months, the ADB said, explaining that a single pool of supply chain finance is typically used for a subsequent delivery with 120- to 180-days. The bank added that “fifty-fifty risk sharing” from partner commercial banks could boost support to $800 million over the same period.
On February 7, the ADB donated $2 million to enhance the detection and prevention of COVID-19 in China and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). Less than three weeks later the bank provided $2 million to boost the response to the virus in all its developing members.
The ADB also signed a CNY130 million (about $18.6 million) private sector loan with a Wuhan-based pharmaceutical distributor to support the continued supply of medicine and personal protective equipment.
Established in 1966, the ADB is owned by 68 members—49 from the Asia-Pacific region.
As of 6am Manila time today, March 18, there had been almost 200,000 confirmed infections and almost 8,000 deaths.
Feature photo Eugene Alvin Villar (seav)
- ADB readies $200 million financing for medicine, protective gear makers (ABS-CBN News)
- ADB offers $200 million financing for firms fighting COVID-19 (The Philippine Star)
- COVID-19 in Asean: update for March 18 — new record for new cases globally (AEC News Today)