THE Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said it doubled its available funding pool to $10 billion due to strong demand from countries seeking funds to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.
In a statement Friday, the Beijing-base AIIB said the volume of requests has “substantially exceeded” the $5 billion initial funding level for its COVID-19 Crisis Recovery Facility.
AIIB said clients have requested “immediate assistance” to ease pressure on health infrastructure; liquidity support for financial institutions to provide working capital and address cash shortages; and “immediate fiscal and budgetary support” for governments.
The crisis recovery facility can be tapped to support both public and private sector responses to the public health crisis and also fund recovery plans.
“We are facing a formidable challenge, with the depth and severity of the crisis growing with each passing day. It was imperative that we respond to the urgent and extraordinary scale of demand from our members to significantly increase the scope of our response,” AIIB President Jin Liqun was quoted as saying.
AIIB said its board has also approved measures that will streamline the bank’s partnerships with other development banks. It said it is closely working with other international financial institutions to establish a “network of support options, especially for the most vulnerable economies.”
Some AIIB member countries have submitted their proposals which are now up for review, including India for $500 million to expand testing capacity and healthcare system, Turkey for a $500 million credit line for two of its development banks which intend to provide working capital for businesses, and Indonesia, which is seeking $250 million to boost hospital capacity and improve emergency response efforts.
AIIB on April 3 approved $355 million for a China emergency health system project.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has said AIIB is among the multilateral lenders that the government is considering for its funding needs.
Mr. Dominguez said economic managers will also present to the AIIB the Philippines’ recovery plan and long-term program to boost its healthcare system. — Beatrice M. Laforga