- The Food Department Rawalpindi and police foiled a bid to smuggle wheat flour and confiscated 120 bags. Moreover, the district administration suspended the wheat quota of 3 flour mills over black marketing of flour.
- President Dr Arif Alvi said that agriculture used to be 50% of GDP and now is only 23% because of which it was not attracting the attention of the policymakers.
- Fawad Chaudhry was arrested for criticizing election officials, while Imran Khan claimed he was shocked to see the establishment is still backing his rivals. Moreover, ECP denotified 43 more PTI members of the NA.ECP has also proposed conducting polls for Punjab and KP legislatures between April 9 and 17.
- The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has drafted proposals of new taxation measures of nearly Rs 300 billion to be enforced through the promulgation of the Tax Laws Amendments Ordinance, 2023.
- Pakistan seeks US leverage to soften IMF terms as Finance Minister Dar met a US Asia Treasury official.
- The U.S. is providing Ukraine with Abrams tanks as Germany will send Leopard tanks, while Russian forces are "intensifying" their attacks near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
COMMODITIES - CROPS, LIVESTOCK & HORTICULTURE
- Smuggling Bid Foiled: The Food Department Rawalpindi and district police in an operation here on Wednesday foiled a bid to smuggle wheat flour and confiscated 120 bags. According to a district administration spokesman, the authorities of the food department along with Naseerabad police conducted a raid and rounded up a driver namely Rohullah on recovery of 120 wheat flour bags. [UP]
- Imported Wheat: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Wednesday allowed Trading Corporation of Pakistan (TCP) to carry on pre-shipment inspection of imported wheat at ports to ensure quality of imported wheat as per approved specifications. [The Nation]
- Wheat Quota Suspended: District administration suspended the wheat quota of three flour mills over black marketing of flour during a crackdown launched here on Wednesday. As per directives of Deputy Commissioner (DC) Muhammad Tahir Watto, the district administration and food department launched a joint crackdown against the black marketing of flour. [The Nation]
- Ghee Manufacturers: The government is likely to launch a crackdown on ghee manufacturers for not passing on the impact of lower prices to local level, well informed sources told Business Recorder. [BR]
- Crop Insurance: President Dr Arif Alvi said that agriculture which used to be 50 % of GDP has lost its value and now is only 23 % of GDP because of which, unfortunately, it was not attracting the attention of the policymakers as was needed. [BR]
AGRI-INPUTS, WEATHER, WATER & POWER
- Cold Wave Continues Next Month: The ongoing cold spell would continue for another month throughout Pakistan due to some good rainy spells ahead, said Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) sources. [BR] [ET] [ARY]
- 500 KV High Tension Line Collapses: Power supply was affected in several towns after a high-voltage electricity transmission tower collapsed in Khanoth town of Jamshoro district, the police said on Wednesday, but there were conflicting reports about what caused the incident. Police say the tower fell after braces were stolen, but sources point to a bomb attack by miscreants. [Dawn] [ET]
- Gas Explosions in Balochistan: Just a day after the death of a trader and his three sons in a gas leak incident, four children died and their mother, a sister and another woman suffered injuries on Wednesday in Badizai Colony here after gas leak from a heater in their room triggered a powerful blast. A gas pipeline has exploded in Bolan. Gas supply to some areas of Balochistan discontinued. SSGC says it will provide gas to affected areas through alternative means. [Dawn] [ET] [PO] [Geo]
- Oil Refinery Policy: The government has finalized a draft of the oil refinery policy that envisages several tax exemptions and incentives to enable refineries to invest in upgrading their plants. [ET]
- Jamshoro Coal-Fired Power Plant: K-Electric (KE) has proposed three structures for its participation in the second unit of Jamshoro coal power plant (2x600 MW), saying that the development of the project can be fast-tracked by structuring the transaction under G2G framework with Saudi Arabia. [BR]
AGRI UPDATES & PAKISTAN POLICY
- Rupee Depreciation: Pakistan’s rupee witnessed significant depreciation against the US dollar in the interbank market, depreciating 1.75% during trading on Thursday, crossing the 250 mark in the open-market. [BR] [ET]
- PTI’s Fawad Arrested for ECP Criticism: An aide to former prime minister Imran Khan was arrested on Wednesday for criticizing election officials, police said, the latest case brought against the opposition as it tries to force early polls. [BR] [Dawn] [Dawn] [ET] [ET] [Geo] [The News] [The News]
- Possible Arrest Attempt: As scores of supporters gathered outside Khan’s Lahore residence to resist a potential bid to arrest the PTI chairman on Wednesday. Imran Khan — in a televised address — claimed he was shocked to see the establishment was still backing his rivals, and continued to challenge those who ousted him. [Dawn]
- ECP Denotifies More 43 PTI MNAs: The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Wednesday denotified 43 more Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) members of the National Assembly (MNAs) following the acceptance of their resignations by NA Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf. [BR] [ET] [UP] [PT] [The Nation] [ARY] [The News]
- Polls in Punjab & KP: Gearing up for the largest by-polls for 93 general seats of the National Assembly and general elections for the two recently-dissolved provincial assemblies, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has proposed conducting polls for Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa legislatures between April 9 and 17 and sought an additional supplementary grant of over Rs 14 billion for the purpose. [Dawn] [DT] [The Nation] [PT]
- US Treasury Official Meets Dar: Robert Kaproth, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US Department of the Treasury for Asia called on Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Finance Division Wednesday. [BR] [ET] [The News] [The Nation] [Dunya]
- Taxation Measures: The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) has drafted proposals of new taxation measures of nearly Rs 300 billion to be enforced through the promulgation of the Tax Laws Amendments Ordinance, 2023. [BR]
- New Delhi Invites Bilawal: As the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) chair, India has invited Pakistan’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to attend the foreign ministers’ and chief justices’ meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Goa in May. If Pakistan accepts the invite, FM’s visit in May will be the first in over a decade. [Dawn]
INTERNATIONAL – OVERVIEW & MARKET OUTLOOK
- Microsoft Cloud Outage: Microsoft Corp on Wednesday said it had recovered all of its cloud services after a networking outage took down its cloud platform Azure along with services such as Teams and Outlook used by millions around the globe. [BR]
- Egypt Suez Canal Revenue: Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority announced on Wednesday an all-time annual revenue record, earning $8 billion in transit fees in 2022.The income from the vital waterway is about 25% higher than the $6.3 billion netted in 2021, following a series of toll hikes to help pad Egypt’s siphoned foreign reserves. [BR] [BT] [AN] [Gulf News]
- Russia-Ukraine War: U.S. providing Ukraine with Abrams tanks as Germany will send Leopard tanks. Biden believes tanks pose 'no offensive threat' to Russia. Russian forces are "intensifying" their attacks near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine and warned that Moscow had a "superior number of soldiers and weapons" in what has become a hot spot in the 11-month-old invasion. [Reuters] [WTRF] [BBC]
PAKISTAN - REMAINDERS
- The Nation Digital Census has been delayed by a month. [Dawn]
- 70% of Karachi's Traffic Signals are out of Order, Sindh High Court said. [Dawn]