July 02, Colombo: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has informed the Cabinet of Ministers that foreign countries and organizations have provided US$ 252 million (Rs. 70 billion) in loans, grants and materials as the initial assistance to respond to the COVID-19 epidemic.
According to a statement on cabinet decisions, the Cabinet of Ministers considered the information furnished by the Prime Minister as the Minister of Finance, Economy and Policy development in relation to the contributions received during the period up to 12th June 2020 as loans, grants and material donations by the government of Sri Lanka from several countries and international organizations for the initial steps to be taken in relation to the control of the global pandemic conditions of COVID- 19.
Accordingly, the World Bank has agreed to provide US$ 128.6 million for the project to prepare the emergency responding and preparation of health systems for COVID - 19 in Sri Lanka while another US dollar 45 million to be provided under the social security network project.
The Cabinet of Ministers paid attention on the fact that both US$ 57.5 million out of the agreed amount under the project to prepare the emergency responding and preparation of health systems for COVID-19 as well as the Provision of US dollar 45 million agreed under the social security network project have been received to the country by now.
In addition to that, the Cabinet of Ministers paid attention on the donations to the value of approximately US$ 75 million and another stock of material good to the value of about US$ 8 million too have been received by the government up to the above - mentioned date.
Cabinet Spokesperson Minister Dr. Bandula Gunawardena said that the Prime Minister has informed the cabinet that as at May 22, Sri Lanka received a total of US$ 173.6 million in foreign loans, US$ 75 million in grants and US$ 4.2 million in material aid.
The Minister said although the countries and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the World Health Organization have agreed to provide these loans, the government has not yet received any.
The Minister said these are only agreements and to receive some of the money bills should be submitted after obtaining the necessary services and goods.
The cabinet spokesman said the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, as the Minister of Finance, presented to the Cabinet a detailed report on the foreign assistance received for the COVID-19 response and presented facts on using the funds with transparency as well as the projects the funds will be utilized.