IMF blames Dar, Shaukat Tarin for derailing programme
Dawn | 24th July
Describing the failed four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) as a “missed opportunity”, the IMF blamed both the PTI and PDM, particularly under the economic stewardship of Shaukat Tarin and Ishaq Dar, for irresponsible budgetary expansion and exchange rate interventions, respectively.
The IMF staff report released after the signing of the $3 billion Standby Arrangement detailed step-wise ‘stop and go’ cycles of the $6.5bn EFF that repeatedly went off the track over almost four years.
No increase in power tariff for 63% of domestic consumers: PM
The Express Tribune | 24th July
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said that 63% of the domestic consumers using up to 200 units per month would be exempted from the recent increase in power tariff.
Besides, he said a partial subsidy was also being given to the consumers of up to 300 units per month which comprise around 31% of the total domestic consumers.
“Due to the toughest conditions from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government had to raise the electricity prices but I stressed that the burden should not be passed on to the protected segments of the society,” he said after witnessing the signing of a framework agreement between State Oil company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) and Pakistan LNG Limited (PLL) here.
Pakistan signs framework agreement with Azerbaijan for LNG procurement on flexible terms
The Nation | 24th July
Pakistan has signed a framework agreement with Azerbaijan for LNG procurement on flexible terms.
The agreement signed between Pakistan LNG Limited and Azeri Company SOCAR in Lahore today was witnessed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said the life of this agreement is one year which is extendable to one more year.
He said under the agreement, Azerbaijan will offer one Cargo of LNG each month and it will be up to Pakistan to either accept the cargo or not. He said there will be no financial penalty if Pakistan does not accept the cargo.
80% of the drugs imported into the country are imported from India – Health Ministry officials
Colombo Page | 24th July
Even during the absence of Indian credit support, 80% of the drugs imported into the country were imported from India, officials of the Ministry of Health told the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Health.
Officials of the Ministry of Health made this disclosure when Member of Parliament Sanjeewa Edirimanna raised a question regarding the medicines during the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Health meeting held recently in Parliament under the chairmanship of Minister of Health Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella.
Government to launch ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ with aims to draw 5 million tourists
The Island | 24th July
President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that the government will be unveiling a new tourist plan called ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ that will be released in the upcoming months. He claimed the proposal is in the final stages of development and would be made public as soon as it is complete.
President Wickremesinghe made this statement while attending the Award Ceremony and a Gala dinner of the ‘Bocuse d’Or 2023’ competition held at the Waters Edge Grand Ballroom Sunday (23) evening.
Before building bridge between India, Sri Lanka, consider feeding people three meals a day: SF
Daily Mirror | 24th July
There is no need to build a bridge to link India and Sri Lanka at this time, but it is better to find a way to feed the people three meals a day, MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said.
Addressing the media, he said building a bridge connecting Sri Lanka and India might be harmful to Sri Lanka, as the country is still faced with many issues.
“Even though India has a developed economy compared to other countries, they also have certain internal political issues. There are issues of livelihood for the majority of the people in the country,” he said.
Karzai and EU Envoy Discuss Gilrs’ Education in Afghanistan
The Khaama Press | 24th July
Former President Hamid Karzai and Raffaella Lodice, the EU envoy in Afghanistan, met to discuss the critical issue of education in Afghanistan, particularly for women and girls.
Karzai pleaded with the EU diplomat to advance education in the country.
Since the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, they have imposed several suppressive policies and practices by which girls and women are barred from attending schools beyond sixth grade and universities.
Afghanistan Exports Products For First Time to US
TOLO News | 22nd July
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC) said that a shipment of pomegranate juice drinks was exported from Afghanistan to the US for the first time.
The pomegranate soft drinks were produced by a company in Herat.
The export of this domestic product, according to the ministry’s spokesperson Akhundzad Abdul Salam Javad, is a significant step in the growth of the country’s economy.
“Recently, two containers carrying 45 tons of Pamir Cola Company pomegranate juice drinks were shipped to America. Also, drinks have been shipped to Germany and Kazakhstan, there are plans for expansion in this area so that we can boost our exports to other countries,” the spokesman noted.
Shared principles and ability to continually ‘form a more perfect union’ are the anchor of US-Bangladesh relations: Peter Haas
Prothom Alo | 24th July
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has said the story of Bangladeshis in the United States carries significance, reports news agency UNB.
“The strength of our democracy is in our people, and the strength of our people gets full expression in our democracy,” he said.
Speaking at a reception marking the Independence Day (4 July) of the United States on Sunday evening, Haas said that they believe the principles that define America, extend beyond its borders.
Japan vows to extend full cooperation
Bangladesh Post | 24th July
Visiting Japan’s Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Nishimura Yasutoshi on Monday vowed that Tokyo would extend its full cooperation to Bangladesh in her endeavor to become a high income country by 2041.
He made the pledge at a bilateral meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam at the State Guest House Jamuna in the capital, a foreign ministry press release said.
During the meeting, Bangladesh state minister reiterated the commitment of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to make Bangladesh as a high income country by 2041.
PM Hasina to address UN Food Systems Summit in Rome
Dhaka Tribune | 24th July
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is joining the three-day UN Food Systems Summit+2 Stocktaking Moment (UNFSS+2) at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) headquarters commencing Monday afternoon.
The prime minister, who arrived in Rome on Sunday afternoon, will also address the official opening of the conference as the special guest speaker.
Around 2,000 participants from over 160 countries, including over 20 heads of state and government, are attending the summit to be held on 24-26 July in Rome.
Bhutan eliminates Rubella
Kuensel | 25th July
Bhutan has been successful in eliminating Rubella after almost two decades of battling the disease.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region announced on July 21 that Bhutan and Timor-Leste have eliminated rubella.
Rubella is a highly contagious disease that causes serious illness and irreversible birth defects in newborns of women infected during pregnancy, which is preventable through vaccination.
Journey of electric buses begins
Business Bhutan | 22nd July
With Bhutan’s very first inauguration of electric city bus service in the country on July 19, 2023, city bus service, under Thimphu Thromde, now aims and says that the next step would be to move on since the country produces renewable hydro power.
The officiating director of City Bus Service, Pasang Tshering said that the next step would be to go electric since the country produces renewable hydro power. However he raised concerns over budgetary constraints.
Largest Maldivian contingent to head for 25th World Scout Jamboree
The Edition | 24th July
The Maldives is set to send its largest contingent ever to the 25th World Scout Jamboree to be held in South Korea.
President and Chief Scout, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, along with the First Lady and Chief Guide, Fazna Ahmed, and Minister of Education and President of the Girl Guides Association, Dr. Aishath Ali, attended a special ceremony on Monday, July 24, to meet the contingent participants.
Japanese foreign minister to visit Maldives
Sun | 25th July
The Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa is scheduled to make an official visit to Maldives in the upcoming weekend.
According to the Maldivian Foreign Ministry, Hayashi’s upcoming visit is in response to an invitation extended by the Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.
The visit will take place from July 29-30.
During his visit, Hayashi will meet with his Maldivian counterpart Shahid, and with the Maldivian Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi, and other top government officials.
Maldives reaffirms commitment to address shared challenges at 116th Session of OACPS Council of Ministers
Raajje | 20th July
The government of Maldives has reaffirmed its commitment to address shared challenges, at the 116th Session of the Council of Ministers of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS).
Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel delivered remarks at the 116th Session of the Council of Ministers of OACPS in Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday.
During his remarks, State Minister Khaleel expressed appreciation and gratitude to the Member States and Secretariat of OACPS for their support towards the island nation’s membership of the organization.
NUG to Launch Myanmar’s First Crypto Bank
The Irrawaddy | 21st July
The soft launch of Spring Development Bank (SDB) will begin on Saturday as part of the National Unity Government (NUG)’s effort to fund the revolution and block financial flows to the junta, Myanmar’s shadow government announced on Thursday.
Its Ministry of Planning, Finance, and Investment (MOPFI) and the interim central bank have been preparing for seven months to establish the bank, which will become Myanmar’s first financial institution to run entirely on crypto and blockchain.
EU expands sanctions targeting Myanmar regime
Myanmar Now | 21st July
The European Union (EU) amended its regulations on Thursday to impose new sanctions on one Myanmar entity and six individuals, including junta ministers and the regime’s quartermaster general.
The entity, the state-owned No. 2 Mining Enterprise (ME2), was already targeted by the United States (US) earlier this year in a spate of new sanctions marking the two-year anniversary since the February 2021 military coup.
PM Dahal, Bangladesh PM Hasina hold meeting
The Himalayan Times | 25th July
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina have held talks on matters of bilateral interest and concern. Prime Minister Dahal met his Bangladeshi counterpart on Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations Food Systems Summit taking place in Rome of Italy, according to the PM Dahal’s Secretariat.
The two Prime Ministers met at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization head office. Similarly, they held important talks regarding enhancing collaboration in agriculture and hydropower sectors, PM’s press coordinator Surya Kiran Sharma said.
China pledges Rs145 million aid for Nepal’s seven provinces
The Kathmandu Post | 25th July
The visiting Chinese delegation led by Yuan Jiajun, a politburo member of the Communist Party of China, has pledged Rs145 million (eight million yuan) to carry out various agriculture-related projects in all seven provinces of Nepal.
The projects will be funded through the China-South Asian Countries Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Centre, headquartered in Chongqing, China.
Yuan, who is tipped as a future leader of China, however, did not discuss BRI projects in Nepal during his meeting with party leaders.
Nepal, EU sign grant agreement of more than Rs 10.5 billion
Onlinekhabar | 21st July
A grant agreement of more than Rs 10.5 billion has been signed between Nepal and the European Union (EU) for two different programmes.
During a program held at the Finance Ministry on Friday, two distinct financing agreements were signed. The first agreement entails a grant of 50 million pounds sterling (equivalent to Rs. 7.38 billion) dedicated to ‘Quality Education for All’ in support of the School Education Sector Plan – SESP. The second agreement involves a grant of 22 million pounds sterling (equivalent to Rs. 3.25 billion) designated for the ‘Local Adaptation to Climate Change’ initiative.