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‘Chai Cup’ | Pakistani minister urges people to cut down on tea consumption

Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan, one of the world’s biggest tea importers, had to borrow money to import it.

Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said Pakistan, one of the world’s biggest tea importers, had to borrow money to import it.

Cash-strapped Pakistan has urged its compatriots to cut tea consumption to help reduce the import bill that is eating away at the country’s depleting foreign exchange reserves.

The appeal by Federal Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal came after it emerged that Pakistan had consumed tea worth 83.88 billion Pakistani rupees ($400 million) during the 2021-22 financial year, International news reports the newspaper.

He said Pakistan, one of the biggest tea importers in the world, had to borrow money to import it.

“I call on the nation to reduce tea consumption by 1-2 cups because we are importing tea on loan,” Iqbal said while addressing reporters in Islamabad on Tuesday.

The federal budget document for the outgoing fiscal year showed that Pakistan imported 13 billion Pakistani rupees ($60 million) more tea than the previous fiscal year.

In the financial year 2020-21, 70.82 billion Pakistani rupees ($340 million) was spent on importing tea, International News Network reports the news agency.

Mr Iqbal’s call to cut tea consumption from one to two cups did not go down well with people who started criticizing him on Twitter.

“Did Ahsan Iqbal really ask the nation to reduce chai? Did he really ask us that? Do they really think we’re so dumb,” said one Twitter user.

“Ahsan Iqbal urges the nation to reduce chai, I’m sorry but I can’t be part of it,” another user named Zoha said in a tweet.

The planning minister said the trading community had also been urged to close markets by 8:30 p.m. PST to save energy.

Mr. Iqbal said this will help the country reduce the import bill for petroleum products.

Recently, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail warned that Pakistan’s economy could find itself in a similar position to that of Sri Lanka if tough decisions are not made.


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