Kathmandu – The European Union (EU) is to provide an aid package of Rs. 9.8 billion to Nepal to tackle the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and mitigate its impact. The support combines redirected existing commitments with new funds, granted in the form of budget support to allow the government direct and swift access to this financing, says a statement issued by the EU delegation in Nepal.
The EU’s support will be directed at two areas— assisting the Nepali authorities to respond to the immediate health crisis and boosting the country’s economic response and recovery. Accordingly, the EU will give Rs 1.6 billion to support the government’s health and preparedness plan.
These funds are being made available either by topping up resources for already existing projects focusing on the health sector, or by reorienting resources to other projects that would integrate health related activities and crisis response, including tackling gender based violence. Meanwhile, Rs 8.2 billion will support the government’s response to the social and economic consequences of the pandemic.
While the government’s strict measures to trace, isolate and treat the virus have so far helped to contain the health crisis, such measures will, as in all countries worldwide, have a negative economic impact.
By stimulating the economy and labour demand, through support to people’s incomes, employment retention and the extension of social protection programmes that assist the most vulnerable, the European Union hopes to assist the government’s economic recovery plan, adds the statement released on Monday.