Myanmar aims to borrow USD 1 billion for vaccines

The Myanmar government is requesting a total of roughly USD 1 billion in loans to buy its first COVID-19 vaccines. It has petitioned the World Bank, IMF, ADB and JICA, U Tun Tun Naing, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry (MOPFI), told the Myanmar Times. The new loans would add to more than USD 2.5 billion Myanmar has already borrowed for pandemic mitigation.

The specific amounts requested are USD 60 million from the World Bank, USD 350 million from IMF, USD 250 million from ADB and JPY 30 billion (USD 290 million) from JICA, the Myanmar Times report continued. U Tun Tun Naing added that both the MOPFI and the Ministry of Health and Sports are working on raising enough funds to pay for the drugs. Apart from the loans, each ministry could be required to allocate a certain portion of their budgets for the fiscal year to pay for the vaccines, as they were in FY 2019-2020.

The loan request comes as the first doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine are making their way to the continent. Asia’s first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Singapore on Monday. Yet as the first approved vaccines are in extremely high demand, it remains to be seen how quickly Myanmar can obtain doses even if it receives the funding.

At the time of writing, Myanmar’s total confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeds 118,000. More than 2500 people have died of the disease.

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