On Wednesday, Pakistani Minister Ahsan Iqbal urged the people of Pakistan to reduce their tea intake to keep the economy afloat. “Pakistan imports tea and for that, it has to borrow money. Until the country becomes independent in tea production, people should avoid all such items”, the Federal Planning and Development minister said on June 15.
According to the reports, Pakistan is the world’s largest importer of tea. It imported around $60 million worth of more tea than the last fiscal year for which it had to apparently borrow the money. “I appeal to the nation to cut down the consumption of tea by one to two cups because we import tea on loan,” he was quoted.
کتنی آسانی سے آپنے ہم سے ہماری زندگی مانگ لی ۔۔ pic.twitter.com/zJE9wWFtXw— Nabya Shahid (@nabyashahid) June 14, 2022
This is amid the severe financial crisis in Pakistan reflected by its lower foreign currency reserves. Reports mention that the rapidly falling foreign currency reserves are pressurizing the Pakistan government to reduce the high import costs and save the funds.
The recent economic crisis is a major test for PM Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced Imran Khan in April. Meanwhile, the video of the incident has gone viral over the internet with netizens wondering how cutting down their daily tea consumption would help Pakistan overcome the economic crisis.
One of the users slamming the state for its appeal, said that the Government of Pakistan does not provide tea for free. “Consumers pay for the chai they consume. There’ll be no compromise on Chai”, she tweeted.
Another mocked Iqbal. Said, “Ahsan Iqbal sahib, we can also try ‘intermediate’ fasting so we just stop eating/drinking all together. So excited with your vision of the future. 500 years ahead of it’s time. Bless you oh saviour of mankind”.
Ahsan Iqbal sahib, we can also try ‘intermediate’ fasting so we just stop eating/drinking all together. So excited with your vision of the future. 500 years ahead of it’s time. Bless you oh saviour of mankind. 🤣 #CostOfLivingCrisis #AhsanIqbal— Anoushey Ashraf (@Anoushey_a) June 15, 2022
Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves accounted for $10 billion in the first week of June. The same in February accounted to $16 billion. Reportedly, the Pakistan officials have also cramped the import of non-essential luxury items to save and protect the funds.