ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has signed an agreement for an emergency assistance loan of 200 million US dollars from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a 3 million dollar grant from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR) to implement a food security and livelihood recovery emergency assistance project.
“The Government of Sri Lanka is planning to borrow USD 200 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance the implementation of a Food Security and Livelihood Recovery Emergency Assistance Project,” the Department of External Resources said in a statement on Friday September 09.
The acquired funds are to ensure access to food and to protect livelihoods of women and children and those who are deeply affected by Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic crisis.
“[JFPR] will provide a grant of USD 03 million through ADB to finance the project activities. The total project cost is estimated as USD 203.36 million, out of which USD 0.36 million has been agreed to be borne by the government,” the statement said.
A statement from ADB quoting Senior Education Specialist for South Asia Asako Maruyama: “Food insecurity has severely affected the people of Sri Lanka amid the current economic difficulties. This assistance will expand direct financial support for the poor and vulnerable, boost livelihood development activities and agricultural production, and enhance social protection systems.
“This fulfills the government’s request for a partial cancellation of loan proceeds from ongoing projects and to use the funds for this emergency intervention.”
Sri Lanka’s crisis has hit home to all citizens of the island, with skyrocketing expenditures and standstill incomes. Sri Lanka was globally ranked sixth in terms of malnutrition in a UNICEF report – which a government minister recently disputed – food prices have gone up by 93.7 percent and as per World Food Programme (WFP) 30 percent of the population are food insecure and are in need of financial and humanitarian aid.
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The project will also overlook upgrading information technology systems and digital tools for the Samurdhi welfare programme, agrarian development to enhance cash grant beneficiary selection, verification, monitoring and improve financial, advisory, and other services for low-income families and farmers.
“The project will continue, for at least 3 months, the temporary increase in the monthly cash grant amount and the number of beneficiaries of the existing social assistance programs, including the Samurdhi subsidy program for low-income families, and allowances for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and kidney disease patients. The project will also support, for at least 3 months, a temporary increase in the monthly value of food vouchers for pregnant and lactating women to be replaced with cash grants, and extend support to undernourished children under the ag,” the ADB statement said.
The agreement was signed by K M Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Economic Stabilisation and National Policies andChen Chen Country Director, ADB Resident Mission on Friday on behalf of the government of Sri Lanka and ADB respectively, the government statement said. (Colombo/Sep09/2022)