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Pakistanis advised to drink much less tea amid financial disaster

The nation’s Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, on Tuesday advised reporters that Pakistanis might scale back their tea consumption by “one or two cups” per day as imports are placing extra monetary pressure on the federal government.

“The tea we import is imported by taking a loan,” Iqbal mentioned, including companies also needs to shut earlier to save lots of electrical energy.

The South Asian nation of 220 million is the world’s largest importer of tea, shopping for greater than $640 million value in 2020, in keeping with the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Pakistan has been dealing with extreme financial challenges for months, resulting in a rise within the costs of meals, fuel and oil.

Meanwhile, its overseas foreign money reserves are declining quickly. Funds held by the central financial institution fell from $16.three billion on the finish of February to only above $10 billion in May, in keeping with Reuters — a greater than $6 billion drop and sufficient to cowl the price of two months of its imports.

Many in Pakistan took to social media to ridicule Iqbal’s plea, saying chopping tea consumption would do little to ease the nation’s financial woes.

Pakistan’s financial disaster was on the middle of a political showdown between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his predecessor Imran Khan earlier this 12 months, resulting in Khan’s ouster in April.

Sharif accused Khan of financial mismanagement and mishandling of the nation’s overseas coverage, forcing Khan out of workplace in a no-confidence vote.

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Coming to phrases with the mounting financial disaster has been a problem for Sharif’s authorities.

Last month, Pakistan banned the import of non-essential and luxurious objects to “control spiraling inflation, stabilize foreign exchange reserves, strengthen the economy, and reduce the country’s reliance on imports,” Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb advised a information convention on May 19.

Sharif on the time mentioned the choice “will save the country precious foreign exchange” and that Pakistan has to “practice austerity.”

At the top of May, the federal government lifted a cap on gasoline costs — a situation for a protracted stalled bailout take care of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to go forward.

Last week, the federal government unveiled a recent $47 billion price range for 2022-23 in a bid to persuade the IMF to restart the $6 billion bailout deal, agreed by each events in 2019.

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