COLOMBO — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Sri Lanka today signed a $200 million emergency assistance loan and a $3 million grant from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific (JFPR). This will ensure access to food and protect livelihoods for the poor and the vulnerable, especially women and children. The loan funds have been repurposed from the ongoing ADB portfolio.
Secretary to the Treasury and Ministry of Finance K. M. Mahinda Siriwardana signed the loan agreement for the Government of Sri Lanka and ADB Country Director for Sri Lanka Chen Chen signed on behalf of ADB. The loan signing was witnessed by the Ambassador of Japan to Sri Lanka Mizukoshi Hideaki.
“This emergency assistance loan will provide much-needed financing to ensure access to food and protect livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable during the unprecedented economic crisis that Sri Lanka is facing right now,” said Mr. Siriwardana. “The project will provide crucial support to the government in extending assistance to vulnerable groups and restoring the livelihood of the poor and vulnerable, including farmers.”
Amid the current economic difficulties, food insecurity has severely affected the people of Sri Lanka. The assistance will expand direct financial support for the poor and vulnerable while boosting livelihood development activities and agricultural production and enhancing social protection systems.
“This loan forms part of ADB’s emergency response package to the multifaceted challenges facing Sri Lanka. ADB has been addressing immediate needs, such as essential medical supplies, materials for water treatment, and working capital for small and medium-sized enterprises by reallocating surplus loan proceeds from ongoing loans,” said Mr. Chen. “Moving forward, ADB will continue to work closely with development partners to support Sri Lanka’s recovery from the economic crisis.”
For at least 3 months, the project will support the temporary increase in the monthly cash grant amount and the number of beneficiaries of the existing social assistance programs. In addition, it will replace the monthly food vouchers for pregnant and lactating women with higher value cash grants, while extending support to undernourished children under the age of 2. The project will also upgrade information technology systems and digital tools for the Samurdhi program and agriculture and agrarian development to enhance cash grant beneficiary selection, verification, monitoring, and communication, and improve financial, advisory, and other services for low-income families and farmers. The project will adopt strengthened measures for financial management and governance and follow ADB’s policies for procurement and anticorruption during the implementation.
The $3 million grant from the JFPR will provide basic needs, such as food, hygiene kits, and medicines. It will support livelihood development of vulnerable women and children and strengthen support mechanisms for victims of gender-based and domestic violence. To promote advanced practices and technologies for precision agriculture and improved crop productivity among farmers, especially female farmers, the grant will support the upgrading and delivery of the Good Agricultural Practices certification program.
“The economic crisis has affected the most vulnerable communities such as women and people with special needs. I am convinced that the support provided by the government and the people of Japan, in collaboration with ADB, will provide the necessary protection and enhance the dignity of the people in need,” said Mr. Hideaki.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.