Khudayar Mohla –
KARACHI: In order to strengthen the health sector in the fight against the deadly virus, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Friday enhanced the maximum financing limit per hospital or medical centre under its refinance scheme from Rs200 million to Rs500 million.
According to a series of tweets by the SBP, a single hospital or medical centre can now acquire up to Rs500 million worth of loans under its Refinance Facility for Combating COVID -19 (RFCC). Previously, the financing limit was Rs200 million.
“The RFCC is an emergency funding facility to support hospitals/medical centres to develop their capacities for treatment of infected patients of COVID-19,” the central bank said, adding the financing under this facility is being made available by the State Bank at zero per cent to banks that can charge a maximum rate of 3 per cent per annum.
The State Bank has been continuously improving features of this facility to ensure timely financial support to hospitals and medical centres engaged in combating COVID-19.
So far, another tweet said, financing of Rs2.2 billion for 11 hospitals/ medical centres has been approved whereas financing requests of Rs 3.6 billion for 23 hospitals/medical centres are being processed by the banks.
With enhancement of financing limit, the SBP said it is expected that large-scale facilities will be created for treating COVID-19 patients by using subsidised funding being extended under this facility.
Meanwhile, the central bank said that more and more borrowers are benefitting from the SBP’s relief package to extend loan principal repayments by one year. As of 24 April 2020, approximately 303,000 borrowers have been able to defer their principal payments amounting to Rs 236 billion.
“The majority of the beneficiaries are small borrowers. Borrowers who wish to avail this package are encouraged to read details of this scheme at our website and contact their bank,” tweeted the State Bank of Pakistan.