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May 24, 2022: National / International Current Affairs
1. NCOC for Covid-19 reconstituted; alert issued for monkeypox
• While the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) for Covid-19 has been reconstituted at the National Institute of Health (NIH) on the prime minister`s direction, an alert was also issued to the health authorities and professionals for monkeypox after which screening arrangements were made at airports on May 23, 2022 to spot suspected cases.
• In Pakistan, according to the NIH, no monkeypox case has been reported though it has reportedly spread to several nonendemic countries including the UK, Canada and Spain.
• According to a notification, all ministries and directorates concerned will remain engaged in NCOC operations and functions as per requirement. The federal minister for national health services will chair the NCOC, which will have representation of the provinces as well as the National Disaster Management Authority
2. SBP hikes policy rate by 150bps to arrest inflation
• The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) increased the policy rate by 150 basis points to 13.75 per cent on Monday in a bid to arrest inflation.
• The move is aimed at cooling down the overheated economy, which is expected to grow at almost 6pc in 2021-22. Economic growth is expected to moderate to 3.5-4.5pc in 2022-23 on the back of monetary tightening and assumed fiscal consolidation.
• The Monetary Policy Committee`s (MPC) baseline outlook assumes continued engagement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as the reversal of fuel and electricity subsidies together with the normalisation of the petroleum development levy (PDL) and general sales tax on fuel in 2022-23
3. PTI`s 25 dissident lawmakers formally de-notified
• The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on May 23, 2022 officially de-notified 25 dissident lawmakers of the PTI who had voted for PML-N`s Hamza Shehbaz in the Punjab chief minister`s election.
• The votes of the dissidents had played a key role in the election of Mr Shehbaz, who had secured a total of 197 votes against 186 required to achieve simple majority.
• Since these 25 lawmakers are no longer members of the Punjab Assembly, Hamza Shehbaz has lost majority.
4. Pakistan borrowed $15.5bn in first 10 months of FY22
• Amid external account challenges, Pakistan borrowed more than $15.5bn in foreign loans in the first 10 months of the current fiscal year, about 70pc more than borrowing from foreign sources in the same period last year.
• In its monthly report on foreign economic assistance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs said it received about $13.03bn foreign assistance in 10MFY2022.
• The ministry`s monthly report on foreign inflows showed that the government crossed almost 92.5pc of the $14.09bn target for foreign assistance set for the whole fiscal
5. Senate passes bill to separate judiciary, executive in Islamabad
• The Senate on May 23, 2022 approved a bill, seeking separation of the judiciary and the executive and clipping the judicial powers of assistant commissioners, deputy commissioner and the commissioner of Islamabad.
• Moved by Senator Irfanul Haq Siddiqui, the bill, `Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act 2022`, seeks amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898. It will now be presented before the National Assembly for its approval.
• Once approved by both the houses, the judiciary and executive branches of the government will be separated.
• Speaking to Dawn, Mr Siddqiui said: `Today`s is a historic day as Senate passed the bill to make amendments to the 124-yearold CrPC, a colonial law