South Asia

Published: Friday 31 October 2008

NEPAL'S FOOD scarcity: The World Bank, on September 30, approved a US$ 36 million assistance package to Nepal to deal with its food scarcity, which has left more than six million vulnerable. According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), heavy flooding in the Kosi river two months ago has left about 2.5 million people in immediate need of food assistance. Supplies provided by the Nepalese government, NGOs and international aid agencies are running out, prompting the government to request WFP to step in. The assistance package consists of US $31 million in grants and credits from the International Development Association, the World Bank's concessionary lending arm, and US $5 million in grants from the bank's Food Price Crisis Response Trust Fund.

Power push in Dhaka: Bangladesh hiked the electricity price for power agencies by 16 per cent from October 1 to cut subsidies given by the state power firm, whose losses are expected to balloon to US $300 million this year. The retail rate for consumers, however, will remain unchanged for now. At present, the country is producing 3,000 megawatts (mw) against a demand of 5,000 mw as its 60 decrepit plants struggle to keep going.

According to World Bank estimates, Bangladesh will require US $10 billion in investment in the next 10 years to overcome the power shortages. Meanwhile, the country has sought a US $554 million loan from the Islamic Development Bank for four power and energy projects.

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