ISLAMABAD-The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) under its refinancing scheme for protecting businesses from the impact of COVID-19, has so far deferred Rs 644,083 million principal repayments of loans up to one year. The central bank had launched the refinancing scheme in collaboration with Pakistan Banks Association for deferment of principal amount with an aim to facilitate businesses and borrowers. Likewise, the bank allowed restructuring or rescheduling of around Rs173,129 million so far, according to the updated data of the central bank up to August 21. 

The number of borrowers that would benefit from this rescheduling relief has risen to 1,343,308, with outstanding amount of Rs2,412,839 million, it said. Under the Refinance Scheme for Wages to Prevent Layoffs, the bank also received requests from around 2,950 businesses for financing up to Rs225,251 million to cover and ensure job security of 1,624,075 employees.

 Out of this, the bank approved requests of 2,346 businesses amounting to Rs171,046 million, which will provide cover to 1,358,943 employees. Meanwhile, the bank under this refinancing scheme for hospitals to combat Covid19, approved financing of Rs6,143.5 million for 30 hospitals so far. As many as 41 hospitals had requested for the financing amounting to Rs8,400.54 million. Likewise, under the Refinance Scheme for Setting-up New Projects or Expansion/BMR, the bank approved 76 requests of Rs32,923 million out of 168 projects amounting to Rs121,258.2 million. It is pertinent to mention here that in order to combat the impact of COVID-19 and to help the businesses in payment of wages and salaries to their workers and employees and thereby support continued employment in this challenging environment, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has introduced a temporary refinance scheme for payment of wages and salaries to the workers and employees of the business concerns. This Scheme was aimed to ease cash flow constraints of the employers and thereby avoid layoffs. In addition, the SBP had expanded the scope of existing refinancing facilities and introduced a scheme to support hospitals and medical centres to purchase equipment to detect, contain, and treat COVID-19 besides, stimulating investment in new manufacturing plants and machinery, as well as modernization and expansion of existing projects.