People are being encouraged in Pakistan to drink fewer cups of tea.
People in Pakistan have been urged to cut down on their tea consumption in order to keep the country’s economy afloat.
The average person in Pakistan consumes 1kg of tea each year, according to estimates
Pakistan’s heavy import expenses might be reduced by drinking fewer cups each day, according to senior minister Ahsan Iqbal.
The country’s low foreign currency reserves, which are currently only enough to cover two months’ worth of imports, have put it in desperate need of funding.
Pakistan is the world’s largest importer of tea, buying in more than $600m (£501m) worth last year.
According to Pakistani media, Mr Iqbal stated, “I appeal to the nation to cut down on tea consumption by one to two cups because we import tea on loan.”
Business traders could also close their market stalls at 20:30 to save electricity, he suggested.
The plea came as Pakistan’s foreign currency reserves continue to fall rapidly – putting pressure on the government to cut high import costs and keep funds in the country.
The call to limit tea consumption has gone viral on social media, with many people questioning that reducing the caffeinated beverage can solve the country’s serious financial issues.
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves dropped from around $16bn (£13.4bn) in February to less than $10bn (£8.3bn) in the first week of June, barely enough to cover the cost of two months of all its imports.
As part of a move to retain expenditures, Karachi officials halted the import of dozens of non-essential luxury items last month.
The economic crisis is a major test for the government of Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced Imran Khan as Pakistan’s prime minister in a parliamentary vote in April.
Shortly after being sworn in, Mr Sharif accused Imran Khan’s outgoing government of mismanaging the economy and said putting it back on track would be a huge challenge.
Last week his cabinet unveiled a fresh $47bn (£39bn) budget aimed at convincing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restart a stalled $6bn (£5bn) bailout programme.
The IMF agreement was reached in 2019 to help Pakistan overcome an economic crisis brought on by low foreign currency reserve supplies and years of stagnant growth, but it was later stopped after lenders raised concerns about the country’s finances.