Government asks Pakistanis to drink less tea to help the economy

Government asks Pakistanis to drink less tea to help the economy
Ahsan Iqbal. PHOTO: PID

You probably think you’ve heard all the solutions for what you can do to help the economy. Carpool to cut down on gas, eat a little less meat and maybe turn the lights off during the day to save energy.

But in Pakistan, citizens are being asked to cut down on a different kind of energy supply – tea. Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal suggested on Tuesday that citizens drink one to two fewer cups of tea each day in an effort to save money because the country imports tea on a loan.

This is a big deal, though, since Pakistan is the world’s largest tea importer, having bought more than US$600 million just last year.

The idea to reduce tea consumption wasn’t the only suggestion that Iqbal made – he also said that markets could close by 8:30 in the evening to save energy.

For some context here, Pakistan is in a pretty dicey economic situation. The country’s parliament just recently ousted former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who was replaced by Shehbaz Sharif. And when he got the job, he accused the outgoing Khan administration of mismanaging the economy and said getting it back on track would be a major challenge.

Sharif’s government is now working on convincing the IMF to restart some bailout programs that would pump nearly US$6 billion into the Pakistani economy.