Beijing-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) said on Friday it was proposing to its board to form a $5 billion financing facility to help public and private sector entities navigate the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed crisis recovery facility is in response to urgent economic, financial and public health pressures, and to support a quick recovery after the current crisis, AIIB said in a statement.
The facility will aim to help efforts to deal with both the health crisis — from basic health infrastructure to advanced healthcare — and the economic fallout, Joachim von Amsberg, a vice president at AIIB, told Reuters.
It is also part of the coordinated international response to counter the pandemic, following the recent extraordinary summit of G20 leaders, the bank said.
The facility is open to proposals and loans are expected to start being approved “within a very few weeks”, Mr. von Amsberg said.
Sought for comment, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the Philippine government will present its recovery plan and long-term program to boost the healthcare system to the AIIB.
“This is a very welcome initiative from AIIB. We will definitely present to them our plans for combating the contagion and for the long term strengthening of our health care system,” Mr. Dominguez told reporters via Viber yesterday.
Mr. Dominguez said earlier that they are looking to seek financial support of up to $2 billion from multilateral agencies such as AIIB, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
The Philippines’ Department of Health reported 3,018 total COVID-19 cases and 136 deaths, as of April 3.
Smaller enterprises, which have fewer buffers to weather a crisis, will be one focus of the AIIB facility, with funding to reach them indirectly through national-level banks, Mr. von Amsberg said.
China’s extensive monitoring, tracing and testing systems, which have been a key part of its epidemic response, are examples of health infrastructure that the AIIB would be happy to help other countries build, he said.
Other projects in AIIB’s pipeline may well see delays as clients focus on dealing with the outbreak, said Mr. von Amsberg.
“Governments’ attention is distracted away from their long-term projects towards their short-term crisis response,” he said. — Reuters with B.M.Laforga