The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday has increased the limit of concessional loans by Rs300 million for hospitals and medical centers in order to facilitate the health sector in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the central bank’s announcement on Friday, under the new development, the banks can provide loans of up to Rs500 million to medical centres and hospitals. Previously, the central bank could only provide Rs200 million to a single hospital or medical centre.
“So far, financing of Rs. 2.2 billion for 11 hospitals/medical centers has been approved whereas financing requests of Rs 3.6 billion for 23 hospitals/medical centers are being processed by the banks,” read a statement from the SBP.
Moreover, the financing under this facility is being made available by the central bank at 0% interest rate to commercial banks – that can charge a maximum rate of 3% per annum to hospitals and other medical facilities.
The SBP hoped that this facility will ensure the creation of large scale facilities for treating COVID-19 patients by using subsidized funding.
SBP slashes interest rate to 9%
This is the latest of a series of measures taken by the central bank to provide relief to various sectors of the country hit hardest by the coronavirus. Last month, the State Bank of Pakistan had slashed the interest rate from 11% to 9% as a measure to provide relief to businesses taking a hit from the coronavirus.
The decision had been announced in a Monetary Policy Statement issued by the central bank in which it stated that the decision had been taken as the “global and domestic outlook has further deteriorated” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In line with other measures to combat the adverse effects incurred by the pandemic on the economy and business-related activities, the central bank had also announced the provision of loans at concessionary rates for companies to be able to pay their employees’ salaries during a lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic back in April. In a statement, the central bank had said companies could borrow an amount equal to the sum of their employees’ remuneration for the months of April, May, and June at a lowered interest rate in order to ensure that people were paid during the lockdown and the economic impact from COVID-19 crisis could be controlled.