April 2020

Day by Day Current Affairs (April 07, 2020) MCQs for CSS, PMS

Day by Day Current Affairs (April 07, 2020) MCQs for CSS, PMS
Shahzad F. Malik
Written by Shahzad F. Malik

April 07, 2020: National / International Current Affairs

1. Cabinet sees shake-up after FIA reports

• In a significant cabinet reshuffle, Prime Minister Imran Khan on April 6, 2020 changed portfolios of over half a dozen members including Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar.
• The reshuffle was made two days after a months-long inquiry exposed the involvement of some leaders of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and allied parties in the wheat flour and sugar crises in the country.
• Mr Bakhtiar`s portfolio was changed from National Food Security to Economic Affairs, while another prominent agriculturist Syed Fakhar Imam, who chairs the Kashmir Committee of Parliament, was made Minister for National Food Security.
• In the reshuffle, one of the legal wizards of the ruling PTI Babar Awan was made adviser to the PM on parliamentary affairs, while PM`s adviser on establishment Arbab Shahzad was removed. It is believed Mr Shahzad has been removed to accommodate Mr Awan as according to the Constitution the prime minister can keep not more than five advisers.
• Hammad, Swati Another cabinet member Hammad Azhar, who was minister for economic affairs before the portfolio was given to Mr Bakhtiar, was made minister for industries. In another decision, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Swati was made minister for narcotics control.
• Amin replaces Siddiqui Interestingly, the disgruntled Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) also made a comeback in the cabinet as its leader Syed Aminul Haq was made federal minister for information technology/telecommunication, while the resignation of MQM chief Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, who previously held the same ministry, was accepted.

2. Nausheen to lead FBR amid big tax revenue shortfall

• Amid massive tax revenue shortfalls during the first nine months of the current fiscal year, the government on April 6, 2020 appointed Nausheen Amjad chief of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).
• At the same time, the cabinet also approved termination of the honorary/probono appointment of Shabbar Zaidi as FBR chairman with immediate effect.
• The post fell vacant in February when Mr Zaidi went on an indefinite medical leave only days after resuming office on Jan 21. In his absence, Ms Nausheen, who was posted as FBR administration member, has been looking after the office of chairman as well.
• Prime Minister Imran Khan appointed Mr Zaidi as FBR chairman in May 2019 with a vision that he would bring about desired reforms and work towards achieving the revenue collection target of Rs5.5 trillion projected for the current fiscal year. Eleven months later, the federal cabinet through circulation on Monday approved the summary of a selection committee that unanimously recommended Ms Nausheen, a BS-22 officer of Inland Revenue Services (IRS), for the position of FBR chairperson with an immediate effect.

3. Report on wheat flour crisis Food minister resigns, two bureaucrats made OSDs

• The wheat flour crisis inquiry report has begun taking its toll as Punjab Food Minister Samiullah Chaudhry tendered his resignation on April 6, 2020, while two other characters named in the investigation report then food secretary Nasim Sadiq and Food Director Zafar Iqbal were also relieved of their present assignments and made officers on special duty (OSDs).
• The opposition parties, however, expressed their dissatisfaction with the action taken by the Punjab government, saying the minster and the officials were being made scapegoats to protect the `actual culprits`.
• The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) report made public on Saturday blamed the Punjab food department for delaying wheat procurement campaign by over two weeks and declared that the then secretary failed to introduce reforms in the department. The public outcry over the report apparently made Mr Chaudhry to quit his office for claiming a high moral ground.

4. SBP allowed subsidised loans to hospitals

• The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on April 6, 2020 extended further flexibility for the health sector under its Refinance Facility to Combat Covid-19 (RFCC).
• Through a circular the central bank allowed hospitals and medical centres to obtain subsidised financing against the existing equipment and purchase of refurbished equipment as well, provided the same are used in creation of special facility/isolation ward to deal with Covid-19.
• Moreover, maximum coverage of 60 per cent of civil works for setting up separate/isolation facility has also been enhanced to 100pc with banks directed to ensure that financing under this facility is utilised for the intended purpose.
• In another move, the SBP also extended its own services to commercial banks` clients in case of no response from the banks

5. FATF to review steps taken by Pakistan in June

• Pakistan`s performance to meet international commitments and standards in the fight against money laundering and terror financing will be reviewed by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) at its meeting slated to be held in Beijing on June 21-26.
• In February, the Paris-based global watchdog against financial crimes gave Pakistan a four-month grace period to complete its 27-point action plan against money laundering and terror financing committed with the international community when it noted that Pakistan had delivered on 14 points and missed 13 other targets.
• A senior government official told Dawn that Pakistan`s performance would be reviewed at the joint working group meetings of the FATF and Eurasian Group (EAG) scheduled for June 21-26 in Beijing and the assessment would lead to final announcement in October this year if Pakistan should move out of the grey list. He said certain action points were yet to be complied with the commitments mainly because of ongoing coronavirus lockdowns.

6. Pakistan to intensify efforts for debt restructuring, relief

• Pakistan on April 6, 2020 decided to intensify efforts for debt restructuring and relief amid growing economic challenges because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
• Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi presided over a consultative session on the economic impact of the contagion at the Foreign Office, which was attended by Federal Minister for Planning and the government`s focal person on Covid-19 Asad Umar, Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, and Adviser to PM on Finance Hafeez Sheikh.
• The Covid-19 pandemic has put significant amount of additional pressure on Pakistan`s struggling economy. The major setback is expected from the f all in exports due to the scaling down of international demand and the reduction in remittances from overseas. Contraction in large-scale industrial production, and services and agriculture sector is also being expected, which would significantly bring down the projected growth rate of the economy.

7. Afghanistan closes Chaman border after row over repatriation

• Afghan nationals were not allowed to enter their country on April 6, 2020 after Afghanistan closed its border with Pakistan, demanding that Pakistanis stranded on Afghan soil should also be allowed to return to their country.
• Pakistan has opened its border with Afghanistan on the special request of the Afghan government for four days to allow return of its nationals stranded at Chaman and Torkham borders.
• Thousands of Afghan and Pakistani nationals, including patients and traders, are stranded on both sides of the border for five weeks.

8. China sees rise in asymptomatic virus cases

• Mainland China reported 39 new coronavirus cases as of Sunday, up from 30 a day earlier, and the number of asymptomatic cases also surged as the government vowed tighter controls at land borders.
• The National Health Commission said on Monday that 78 new asymptomatic cases had been identified as of the end of Sunday, compared with 47 the day before.
• Imported cases and asymptomatic patients, who show no symptoms but can still pass the virus on, have become China`s chief concern after draconian containment measures succeeded in slashing the overall infection rate.
• Hubei province, the original epicentre, accounted for almost half the new asymptomatic cases. A total of 705 people with asymptomatic cases were under medical observation around mainland China

9. British Open cancelled, Masters moved to November

• The British Open will not be played this year for the first time since 1945, golf officials announced April 6, 2020 as they tried to reconfigure a major championship schedule that would end with the Masters being played two weeks before Thanksgiving.
• Still to be determined is when or even if golf can resume depending on the spread of COVID-19 that has shut down sports worldwide.
• The R&A announced that the British Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George`s in England, will be pushed back until July 15-18 in 2021, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews in 2022.

10. Ex-NZ batsman Jock Edwards is no more

• Jock Edwards, a big-hitting wicketkeeper-batsman who played six Tests and eight One-day Internationals for New Zealand and who would have been a natural at Twenty20 cricket, has died. He was 64.
• His death was confirmed on April 6, 2020 by the Central Districts province, for which he played 67 first-class matches between 1974 and 1985. A cause of death was not available.
• Edwards was a stocky and powerful batsman whose approach would have been ideally suited to the modern white-ball game but put him at odds with the more traditional style of his era.

Day by Day Current Affairs (April 07, 2020) MCQs for CSS, PMS

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Shahzad F. Malik

Shahzad F. Malik

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