BRICS development bank approves $1 bln loan for Russia’s frontline health workers

PUBLISHED: Mon, 29 Mar 2021 10:38:20 GMT

MOSCOW, March 29 (Reuters) – The New Development Bank (NDB) has approved a loan of up to $1 billion to support healthcare workers treating patients for COVID-19 in Russia, it said on Monday.

The NDB was established by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a group of emerging economies known as the BRICS. It set up an Emergency Assistance Facility in April 2020 to provide up to $10 billion in crisis-related assistance to its member countries.

“The loan will provide financial resources to address one of the most critical needs in Russia’s healthcare response to the COVID-19 outbreak and improve the capacity and resilience of the country’s public health sector,” the NDB said in a statement.

The NDB said its board of directors had approved the loan on March 25 to support incentive payments for frontline health workers, including doctors, nurses and medical staff.

Russia stepped up borrowing in 2020 to plug budget holes amid the COVID-19 pandemic and low prices for oil, its chief export. The finance ministry said the loan and other resources would help offset budget costs.

“As loans for financing the fight against COVID-19 are provided by the NDB on favourable terms, the Ministry of Finance considers it appropriate to attract credit from the NDB,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that it would submit a proposal to the government for consideration. (Reporting by Darya Korsunskaya and Alexander Marrow Editing by Gareth Jones)

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