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November 18, 2022: National Current Affairs
1. Talks with IMF on ninth review delayed further
• Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had another round of engagement on November 17, 2022 but could not finalise a schedule for formal talks on the overdue ninth review of a $7 billion loan programme amid a lack of clarity on flood-related financial requirements for this fiscal year and declining revenue stream in the wake of import controls.
• `Dates for the ninth review could not be finalised,` a senior official told Dawn after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had an online meeting with IMF`s mission chief to Pakistan, Nathan Porter, on Thursday.
• Mr Dar reiterated the government`s commitment to `successfully completing the IMF programme`, the finance ministry said in a statement, apparently to pacify jittery markets.
• The talks, originally due in the last week of October, were rescheduled to Nov 3 and then kept on facing delays following gaps in estimates by the two sides
2. CM releases Rs12bn funds for 55,000 flood-hit people
• Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on November 17, 2022 released Rs12.20bn for relief of more than 55,000 flood victims, which would be given as Rs280,000 each to the owners of 47,500 mud houses and Rs400,000 each to the owners of 8,000 concrete houses.
• Addressing the ceremony of distributing relief funds, he said valuable work had been done by the armed forces, Akhuwat and other religious NGOs for the victims of the flood.
• `I went to different areas of DG Khan to assess the situation and found thousands of houses, mosques and schools washed away.
• Mr Elahi commended the efforts of the officers who lent a helping hand and noted that Sania Nishtar developed a wonderful distribution system in two months. He termed the transparency of the aid programme unprecedented as the record was available on the PDMA system
3. Alvi calls for strategy to counter fake news in new world order
• President Dr Arif Alvi on November 17, 2022 said the spread of fake news was creating misunderstandings and violence among countries and stressed on the need to counter misleading trends in the new world order.
• Destructive philosophies and ideas needed to be replaced with the philosophy of total peace where resorting to war was not an option, he said, adding that that this will only be possible when all nations and people living in them were treated with dignity, honour and respect without any discrimination on the basis of colour, creed, race or language.
• `As in the current era, social media has resulted in the spread of fake news and created misunderstandings and violence among countries and societies, it should be countered with self learning and education and by nurturing our ability to sift authentic news from fake news,` the president said
4. KP launches contributory pension scheme for new employees
• After starting deductions from the salary of its new employees for the `contributory pension` scheme launched for them lately, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has directed its all departments to open accounts of those staff members with asset management companies to claim better profits.
• In the last fiscal, the government, in a bid to check the province`s rising pension liability, had decided to replace the existing pension programme funded by it with the defined contributory pension system for new employees.
• The decision came in light of an amendment to the KP Civil Servants Act 1973 and Contributory Funds Rules, 2002
5. Govt markup rate on loans to provinces, SOEs raised
• The government has increased the markup on development loans and advances to the provincial, local bodies, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and public sector financial institutions by almost one percentage point for the previous fiscal year, which ended on June 30.
• In a notification issued on November 17, 2022, the finance ministry has fixed the markup rate for the 2021-22 fiscal year at 11.2 per cent, up from 10.30pc a year ago.
• The federal government charges these markup rates on cash development loans to the provincial governments, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan, besides loans extended to local bodies, public sector entities (PSEs), corporations, autonomous bodies, financial and non-financial institutions and capital outlays of the federal government in the commercial departments