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Saturday, May 28, 2022

World Bank approves Lebanon food loan

BEIRUT ( Associated Press) — The World Bank has approved a $150 million food security loan to crisis-hit Lebanon to stabilize bread prices over the coming months, the economy minister said Monday.

The loan carries a very low interest rate, Minister Amin Salam told reporters, but did not say what it was. He used the term soft loan to refer to a below-market interest rate.

The loan will greatly help stabilize bread prices as the country endures its worst economic crisis.

Concerns have been raised that the government may suspend wheat subsidies as foreign exchange reserves have fallen to critical levels at the central bank. Any suspension of subsidies would drastically increase the price of bread, further punishing the economy of the Lebanese. More than three-quarters of Lebanon’s 6 million people, including 1 million Syrian refugees, currently live in poverty.

Lebanon is in the throes of a devastating economic crisis that the World Bank has described as one of the worst in modern history. It imports virtually all of its wheat and, in recent weeks, has faced shortages as the war in Ukraine drives up food and oil prices around the world.

Salam said the loan comes at a time “when we cannot bear any instability in the (input) of wheat,” adding that bread will now be available next month.

The official said last month that the government has no immediate plans to remove the wheat subsidy, but noted that the war in Ukraine is forcing Lebanon to seek new sources of wheat that are farther away and more expensive.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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