International

Pakistan Minister Appeals Citizens To Consume Less Tea, Here Is Why

The South Asian nation of 220 million is the world’s largest importer of tea, buying more than $640 million worth in 2020.

New Delhi: Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, has urged citizens to cut down on tea to keep the economy afloat. Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistanis could reduce their tea consumption by “one or two cups” per day as imports are putting additional financial strain on the government.

Iqbal while interacting with the reporters said that the country has been importing tea by taking loans. The federal budget document for the outgoing fiscal year showed that Pakistan imported Rs13 billion (USD 60 million) worth of more tea than the last fiscal year.

Last week, the government unveiled a fresh $47 billion budget for 2022-23 in a bid to convince the IMF to restart the $6 billion bailout deal, agreed upon by both parties in 2019.

The South Asian nation of 220 million is the world’s largest importer of tea, buying more than $640 million worth in 2020, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity.

Meanwhile, its foreign currency reserves are declining rapidly. Funds held by the central bank fell from $16.3 billion at the end of February to just above $10 billion in May, according to Reuters — a more than $6 billion drop and enough to cover the cost of two months of its imports.

The video has gone viral with people connecting this latest tea diktat with the tea episode of the Abhinandan Varthaman tea episode. Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was held captive in {Pakistan in 2019 after his fighter MiG was shot down by the Pakistan Air Force. In a video released by the Pakistan army, Abhinandan Varthaman said the tea he was given was good. Later, Abhinandan was freed.

Imran Khan’s lead  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party took to Twitter, claiming Sharif’s government has damaged the economy, barely two months since taking office.

Meanwhile, Pakistan increased the petrol price by more than Rs 84 per liter in the last 3 weeks. With an increase of Rs 16.31, the diesel price is now Rs 263.31/liter.

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