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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$14 million grant to help the Government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) respond to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The grant will help fund measures that combat the entry and spread of COVID-19, provide economic stimulus to businesses, and enhance social protection for the poor and vulnerable.
“The FSM Health Expenditure and Livelihoods Support Program (HEALS) is part of an integrated package of assistance by ADB that covers FSM’s immediate response to COVID-19 and short-term financing support to manage the socioeconomic effects of the pandemic while promoting interventions that support recovery and building resilience,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
ADB’s HEALS programme will support the government’s Health Action Plan through activities such as building quarantine facilities, providing infection prevention training for first responders, increasing local laboratory testing, and supplying essential medical equipment.
The programme will provide financial support, including wage subsidies and tax rebates for the 186 tourism businesses that have been hit hard by the threat of the pandemic. The FSM Development Bank will provide loans to at least 200 micro- and small-enterprises, half of which will be allocated to women-owned businesses. Temporary unemployment assistance will be given to an estimated 100 migrant workers who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19.
Cash transfers will support about 4,500 low-income households, providing temporary relief for affected informal workers.
The grant is funded through the COVID-19 pandemic response option (CPRO) under ADB’s Countercyclical Support Facility. CPRO was established as part of ADB’s $20 billion expanded assistance for developing members to respond to COVID-19, announced in April.
This is ADB’s second grant to the FSM to combat the impacts of COVID-19, following a grant of US$6 million in April.
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