Pakistan's economic woes continue to impact business operations in the country. In another major decision taken by the Shehbaz Sharif-led government, Pakistan will close its malls and markets by 8.30 pm in order to save energy, Al Jazeera reported. Not only this, government offices have also been asked to reduce electricity consumption by 30%. Plus, wedding halls and restaurants have been ordered shut by 10 pm.
The measures which have been approved by the Cabinet are also expected to save the country about 62 billion Pakistani rupees ($273 million), Defence Minister Khwaja Asif told journalists on Tuesday (January 3).
2022 was yet another tough year for Pakistan. The worst flooding in history aggravated our economic challenges. My resolve for the New Year is to use my energy & time to get people out of difficulties, rehabilitate flood victims & put Pakistan on the path to growth & stability.— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) January 1, 2023
Curbing electricity usage: The Defence Minister in his address to the media said that the energy conservation plan included the banning of production of energy bulbs and fans which are inefficient from February and July respectively.
He said that Pakistan's summer electricity usage was 29,000 megawatts (MW) compared with 12,000 MW in the winter, mainly due to the usage of fans in hotter months.
In a bid to save energy, half of the country's streetlights will also remain switched off.
What is the economic status of Pakistan: Pakistan has been badly hit by a crippling economy as a monetary funding of $1.1 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is delayed. Islamabad has differences with the IMF over a review the agency conducted on policy and reforms it needs in Pakistan. This review should have been completed in November.
Government clueless: The change of government in April 2022 which removed former PM Imran Khan and brought in Shehbaz Sharif, seems clueless on how to tackle this mess.
The government has, however, tried to stabilise the economy by containing imports and high inflation. Further, a fast depreciating currency has made the imports more expensive while the consumer prices saw 25% year-on-year rise in the first half of current fiscal year.