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Pakistan: Wedding halls to close by 10 PM, production of electric fans to be stopped as the country attempts to save electricity amidst energy crisis

PM Sharif also directed against unimportant usage of electricity in offices. This follows warnings from observers and experts about the alarm bells that Pakistan is dangerously close to default.

The Pakistan government on Tuesday announced plans to reduce energy consumption nationwide whereby it proposes to close markets by 8:30 pm and wedding halls by 10 pm, in view of the rising circular debt in the energy sector.

“The plan will change the overall lifestyle and habit pattern of the nation and save us Pkr 60 billion,” Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper during a press conference. Addressing the presser alongside other key ministers, Asif said that the production of fans run on electricity will be halted in Pakistan by July.

“Inefficient fans use around 120-130 watts of electricity. Across the globe, fans are available that use 60-80 watts,” he said. This development comes as a Pakistan media report said this policy is aimed at saving energy as the government resolves to reduce circular debt in the energy sector.

The power division in Pakistan has said that the circular debt which stood at Pkr2.253 trillion by end of September last year had now reached Pkr2.437 trillion, the Dawn report said citing media reports. The Pakistan Defence Minister said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has directed to decrease the usage of electricity used by all federal government departments by 30 percent.

PM Sharif also directed against unimportant usage of electricity in offices. This follows warnings from observers and experts about the alarm bells that Pakistan is dangerously close to default.

On Sunday, former finance minister Miftah Ismail said “if Pakistan does default, God forbid – which, I believe can be avoided – it would take six months at the minimum to recover.”

“What would happen if such a thing happens to pass is that we will have to go back to the International Monetary Fund and other lenders, and will have to request them that we will pay any amount due to them this year in the year that follows,” he said in an interview with The Express Tribune newspaper.

The Pakistan Finance Ministry last week forecasted that inflation will stay high as it warned that the cash-strapped nation is staring at ‘severe headwinds’ in the current fiscal year, the Dawn newspaper reported.

“For FY23, economic growth is likely to remain below the budgeted target due to devastation caused by floods. This combination of low growth, high inflation, and low levels of official foreign exchange reserves are the key challenges for policymakers,” said the alert issued by Pakistan Finance Ministry in its Monthly Economic Update and Outlook.

According to the economic outlook, Pakistan’s overall fiscal deficit stood at 1.5 percent of GDP during July-October 2022-23 as compared to 0.9 percent of GDP last year.

The Dawn report said the fiscal deterioration was because of higher expenditure growth on the back of higher markup payments while the government is facing the challenge of providing relief to people in flood-hit areas.

(This news report is published from a syndicated feed. Except for the headline, the content has not been written or edited by OpIndia staff)

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