Bangladesh gets $480 mln World Bank loans for food, power

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DHAKA, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Bangladesh signed on Thursday two loan agreements worth $480 million with the World Bank in a bid to ease power and food crises.

The South Asian country will get a $130 million loan from the bank to cope with rising food prices, which have pushed more than 4 million people back into poverty, the World Bank said.

Another $350 million loan would be used for Siddhirganj power plant, which will be the first integrated gas-to-power project in Bangladesh, contributing 300 MW of generation capacity to help offset the country's power shortage.

It will also finance a 60 km natural gas pipeline that will improve the reliability of gas supply to the plant, and an 11 km electricity transmission line so that power from the plant can be distributed to consumers.

The credit from the International Development Association carries a service charge of 0.75 percent annually and has 40 years to maturity, including a 10-year grace period.

Bangladesh was hit by a food crisis after last year's floods and a cyclone, which together damaged nearly 3 million tonnes of food grains, causing rice prices to double.

Nearly half of Bangladesh's more than 140 million people live on less than $1 a day, spending 70 percent of their total income on food. ($1 = 68.70 taka)

(Reporting by Masud Karim; Editing by Toby Chopra)

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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