Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

Pakistan Minister Urges People To Drink Less Tea, Says Country Has To Borrow For Tea Imports

Pakistan is dealing with depleted foreign exchange reserves and the minister said cutting down on tea import bills would help the situation.

Pakistan has to borrow money to pay for tea imports I Shutterstock
Pakistan has to borrow money to pay for tea imports I Shutterstock

A Pakistani minister has urged people to reduce their tea consumption as he says the country's tea imports are stressing the country's finances.

Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistanis should reduce tea by one or two cups as the country had to take loans for tea imports.

He made the appeal after it emerged that Pakistan consumed tea worth Rs 83.88 billion ($400 million) in the fiscal year 2021-22, according to a report in The News International newspaper.

The federal budget document for the outgoing fiscal year showed that Pakistan imported Rs 13 billion ($60 million) worth of more tea than the last fiscal year. In 2020-21, Rs 70.82 billion ($340 million) was spent on the import of tea, the News Network International news agency reported.

Iqbal’s appeal to cut down the consumption of tea did not go down well with people as they started criticising him on Twitter.

"Did Ahsan Iqbal really ask the nation to cut down on chai? Did he honestly really ask us for that? Do they really think we're that stupid," a Twitter user said.

"Ahsan Iqbal urging the nation to cut down on chai. I'm sorry but I cannot be a part of this," another user named Zoha said in a tweet.

Iqbal said the traders' community has also been asked to close markets by 8:30 PM to conserve energy. He said this will help the country cut the import bill of petroleum products.

Recently, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail warned that Pakistan’s economy could be in a similar position as that of Sri Lanka if tough decisions were not taken.

(With PTI inputs)