India open to additional $2-billion aid for Sri Lanka
Daily Mirror | 14th April
India is willing to commit up to another $2 billion in financial assistance to Sri Lanka while also supporting the island nation with food and fuel, five sources told Reuters, as New Delhi tries to regain ground lost to China in recent years.
Sri Lanka, hit by its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948 and on the brink of its first debt default, has been asking friendly nations including India and China for credit lines, food, and energy. The Asian giants have already committed billions of dollars in financial support, the Reuters reported.

UNHCR Concerned over Women’s Situation in Afghanistan
The Khaama Press | 12th April
United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR) has expressed grave worry over the closure of secondary schools for Afghan girls and the arrest of women in central Bamyan province.
The UN agency in a Tweet said, that Afghan women are not only allowed to work and get an education but are also concerned about their safety.
The Twitter post reads that Afghan girls are confronting restrictions on travel, work, education, and safety in the country insisting protection of human values and women and girls’ rights.

US agrees with Pak Army’s statement on ‘diplomatic cable’
The Express Tribune | 15th April
United States Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price on Friday said that the US government agreed with the statement of the Pakistan Army regarding the word ‘conspiracy’ not being mentioned in the 'diplomatic cable'.
A day earlier, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar explained in a news conference that a demarche was issued to the United States because the language used in the "diplomatic cable" was undiplomatic and that amounts to “interference” in the country’s internal matters.

SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka temporarily suspends foreign debt payments
Daily Mirror | 12th April
The Finance Ministry today announced it would default on its US$51 billion external debt pending a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.
The finance ministry said creditors, including foreign governments that had lent to the South Asian nation, were free to capitalise any interest payments due to them from Tuesday afternoon or opt for payback in Sri Lankan rupees.

Sri Lanka seeks financial and legal advisers to manage external debt sustainability
Colombo Page | 11th April
The Government of Sri Lanka through Ministry of Finance has published the Request for Proposals (RfPs) from interested parties or agencies for the appointment of Financial Advisors and Legal Consultants for managing its external debt sustainability.
The GOSL is soliciting proposals from leading international financial advisors with experience in advising sovereigns in managing their external debt in a sustainable manner having engaged in liability management.

USD 500 mn credit line to procure petroleum products: Govt. wants India to double facility
The Island | 11th April
Sri Lanka is trying to have the USD 500 mn Indian Credit Line for fuel increased to USD 1 bn. Janaka Ratnayaka, Chairman of the five-member Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) yesterday told The Island that Sri Lanka was seeking to have the Indian credit line doubled in line with overall efforts to tackle the worsening crises.
Emphasising the importance of doubling the Indian credit line, Ratnayake revealed that another combination of 200 MT of fuel would be delivered within a short period, also under USD 500 million credit line.
 

PAKISTAN

PM Shehbaz likely to visit Saudi Arabia, China
The Express Tribune | 12th April
Newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia and China in his first foreign trip after taking charge, a Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader told The Express Tribune on Tuesday.
Traditionally, a prime minister’s first foreign visit has often been to Saudi Arabia and China due to the country’s strategic relationship with both.

PM forms advisory body to tackle economic challenges
Dawn | 13th April
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday the government will take short and long-term measures to overcome the economic challenges left behind by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) regime.
“After the formation of the federal cabinet, the government would come up with… plans to overcome inflation and revive the economy,” the prime minister told reporters at an iftar dinner at PM House on Tuesday.

Pakistan Reports 101 COVID-19 Cases, No Death In 24 Hours
The Nation | 13th April
Pakistan has reported no death in the last 24 hours by novel coronavirus as the number of positive cases has risen to 1,526,829. The nationwide tally of fatalities stands at 30,362 on Wednesday.
According to the latest figures by the National Institute of Health (NIH), at least 101 persons were tested positive for COVID-19 across the country in the past 24 hours.

Military takes notice of propaganda campaign against it
The News | 12th April
The 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference on Tuesday took note of the recent propaganda campaign by some quarters to malign Pakistan Army and create division between the military and society, said the military’s media wing.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa presided over the meeting, with corps commanders, principal staff officers, and all formation commanders of the Pakistan Army in attendance at the GHQ, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).​​​​​​
 

AFGHANISTAN

Political Crisis Affects Afghan Health Sector: World Bank
Afghanistan Times | 12th April
The World Bank’s survey shows that the Afghan private sector has been affected as the economic activities were damaged by political crisis triggered after the August collapse.
The survey was conducted from October-November 2021, the World Bank said in a report.  
“The majority of surveyed businesses reported a drastic decline in consumer demand for their products and services and have been forced to scale back operations, reduce investments, and lay off employees,” the report said.

Uzbekistan to Host Meeting on Trans-Afghan Railway Project
TOLO News | 12th April
Teams from Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Pakistan will meet in the city of Termez, Uzbekistan, on Tuesday to discuss key issues around the $5 billion railway project that passes through Afghanistan to link up with Pakistan’s seaports.
Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat, head of the Afghan railway department, said that all preparations have been made for the start of the railway project and that the Ministry of Interior has given a written commitment to ensure its safety.

Kabul Establishes Diplomatic Ties with Russia, Bidding Formal Recognition
The Khaama Press | 11th April
The Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan in its bid for formal recognition established diplomatic ties with Russian government, adding up to the list of at least four other neighboring countries who have previously accredited the Taliban-appointed diplomats. 
China, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan have accredited the Islamic Emirate’s appointed diplomat in recent months, though all had initially refused to recognize the 8-month-old government in Afghanistan.
 

BANGLADESH

Bangladesh-US keen to strengthen bilateral relations
Prothom Alo | 12th April
Both Bangladesh and the United States (US) differ on several issues but the bilateral relations were so far good over the past 50 years.
Now, the top leaderships of both countries want the Dhaka-Washington bilateral ties to be considered as role model to others in the next 50 years.
Last week, the US signalled on strengthening bilateral ties during the talks with Bangladesh at various levels. Bangladesh is also interested to fortify this ties and such message has been sent to the US.

Remittance inflow up from USA, EU
Bangladesh | 11th April
Bangladesh received second highest remittance from the United States in March, which showed a change in inward remittance flow.
The remittance earning has been dominated by the Middle Eastern countries since independence. But now the situation is changing as many Bangladeshi skilled people work in the developed countries, said Md. Serajul Islam, Executive Director and Spokesperson of Bangladesh Bank (BB).  

2.3 million Dhaka residents to get cholera vaccine
Dhaka Tribune | 13th April
The health authorities in Bangladesh have decided to vaccinate 2.3 million residents of Dhaka against cholera in light of the recent diarrhoea outbreak in the capital city.
The first dose will be administered in May and second in June, DGHS Line Director (CDC) Dr Md Nazmul Islam said in a press call on Wednesday.
The vaccination will not require registration, he added.
 

BHUTAN

Japan to support Bhutan tackle Covid-19 and economy recovery
Kuensel | 12th April
The government of Japan will diversify its area of support to help Bhutan recover from the economic damage caused by the pandemic.
Talking to Kuensel in an online interview, Director General of the Department of Southeast and Southwest Asian Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Takehiro Kano, said that the government of Japan will support Bhutan to respond to Covid-19 and recover the Bhutanese economy and achieve sustainable development in Bhutan.

Current account deficit to narrow to 10.6% of GDP in 2022
Business Bhutan | 12th April
The average inflation for this year is projected at 7% amid persistent upward pressure on food and non-food pricese projection is as per the Asian Development Bank (ADB)
The current account deficit is projected to narrow to 10.6% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the current fiscal year, owing to a slight reduction in trade deficit from a projected 16.5% increase in exports and a 14.8% rise in imports.
 

MALDIVES

Maldives’ economic recovery strong, but high debt major concern
Sun | 14th April
The World Bank, in a biannual regional update on Wednesday, said that the Maldivian economy, buoyed by a strong rebound in tourism, is projected to grow at 7.6 percent in 2022 and fully recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2023, but expressed major concern over the country’s high debt levels.
The latest Maldives Development Update, released as a companion piece to the South Asia Economic Focus Reshaping Norms: A New Way Forward, underscores the growing momentum of the Maldivian economy supported by a sustained recovery in tourism, while identifying potential downside risks to growth.

Maldives confirms 655 new Covid-19 cases in a week
Raajje | 11th April
Maldives has confirmed 655 new Covid-19 cases in a week.
Over the past week, the Health Protection Agency ((HPA) reported more than 600 new Covid-19 infections including 482 detected from residential islands outside of the congested capital Greater Malé Area, where 91 new cases were confirmed.
In its latest figures disclosed on Monday, HPA revealed that between April 3 to 9, the caseload had decreased compared to the previous week.
 

MYANMAR

Military continues arson campaign throughout central Myanmar
Myanmar Now | 12th April
During the first week in April, the Myanmar army set fire to and destroyed hundreds of homes in eight townships across Magway, Mandalay and Sagaing regions, according to local sources across the three regions. 
The rampage across central Myanmar took place from April 2-7, they said, but attacks on communities in the region have been occurring daily for months. 

Dry streets as Myanmar boycotts water festival to protest junta
The Irrawaddy | 13th April
Myanmar marked its normally boisterous new year water festival with silence and boycotts on Wednesday, as fighting between the military and opponents of the coup raged across the country.
The Southeast Asian nation has been in turmoil since the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government last year, sparking huge protests and a bloody crackdown.
 

NEPAL

World Bank: Nepal’s economic growth to remain at 3.7% this year
Onlinekhabar | 14th April
In its latest update on the economic growth of the gross domestic product of countries in the South Asian region, the World Bank has projected Nepal’s annual economic growth for this fiscal year at 3.7 per cent.
Previously, in January, the World Bank had said the growth rate would be at 3.9 per cent. It means the estimate slightly decreased.
The bank’s country director for Nepal, Faris H Hadad-Zervos, says this rate shows “a continued gradual yet slower recovery amid global challenges.”

Management of land services more transparent
The Himalayan Times | 14th April
The Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives, and Poverty Alleviation is all set to mark the centenary of the first registration of land records in the country for three days from today with various programmes.
A special programme will be organised at Rastriya Sabha Griha (City Hall) tomorrow. Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will also be present at the event.

Economic diplomacy takes a back seat as diplomats fail to push it
Kathmandu Post | 15th April
Amid rising imports, falling remittances and ballooning balance of payment deficit, many say a crisis could be just around the corner. Experts and analysts say the problem with Nepal’s economy is that the country imports a lot compared to what it exports because it doesn’t produce competitive products.
What Nepal needs is maximum foreign direct investment, aid and assistance in various sectors, but the country has failed to pursue economic diplomacy, according to experts.

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