30 July 2020 Manila Phillipines. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has shown its commitment to the people of Samoa through the approval of a $20 million US dollar grant to help the Government respond to the impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The grant translates to over ST $50 million tala with current exchange rates, and has been tagged to help fund measures to boost Samoa’s health sector with initiatives such as health screening areas, medical supplies and training for frontline workers.
The grant will also support Samoa’s economy with subsidies to the critical hospitality, and top-ups to pensioners and cash transfers for all Samoans.
“As Samoa works to keep the disease from entering the country, ADB’s support will help to strengthen the health sector by funding the training of workers, upgrading facilities, and bolstering medical supplies,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa.
“ADB’s assistance will also help support the livelihoods of the many people in Samoa affected by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.”
ADB’s Health Expenditure and Livelihoods Support Program will support health sector improvements in Samoa including upgrading isolation rooms in hospitals, strengthening quarantine areas, and procuring medical supplies. It will also help train frontline workers to prevent infections.
The program will also support measures to safeguard the purchasing power of Samoans, such as unemployment benefits, cash transfers, and higher pensions for the elderly.
The hospitality industry, which is critical to Samoa’s economy and heavily impacted by the closure of international borders, will receive support through lower electricity tariffs and deferred contributions to the Samoa National Provident Fund.
Several measures will target support for women, such as grants for village women’s committees to promote rural health and sanitation practices.
Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti says Samoa’s relationship with ADB is dynamic and open across all sectors.
“And I feel that this relationship will continue to grow from strength to strength”.
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 on 13 April. Visit ADB’s website to learn more about its ongoing response.
This is ADB’s second grant to Samoa to combat the impacts of COVID-19, following a grant of $2.9 million in April.
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.