Japan gives $440 million loan to Bangladesh

DHAKA, Jan 17 (Reuters) - The government of Japan said on Saturday it had pledged to lend Bangladesh nearly $440 million for power generation and bridge construction projects.

The commitment came from Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso who had telephoned Bangladesh’s new Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to congratulate her after a landslide victory on Jan. 6, Japan’s government said in a statement.

Aso said the loan was meant for the construction of a power plant, a power distribution project and a bridge improvement project.

Japan has been active in giving aid to the power and transportation sectors, and its loan assistance to Bangladesh has risen sharply over the past few years.

The interest rate is 0.01 percent per annum and the repayment period is 40 years inclusive of 10-year grace period for the loans.

The accumulated total of Japan’s loans to Bangladesh since 1973 is about $7.4 billion for 80 projects including three projects under the new package.

Reporting by Serajul Islam Quadir; Editing by Ben Tan