Islamabad [Pakistan], January 4 (ANI): Faced with a severe power crisis, the Shehbaz Sharif government in Pakistan has announced plans to reduce energy consumption nationwide whereby it proposes to close markets by 8:30 pm and wedding halls by 10 pm.
“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 on Tuesday.
During the presser, Asif said that the production of inefficient 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. Pakistan’s power division said that the circular debt which stood at Pkr2.253 trillion by the end of September last year had reached Pkr2.437 trillion, the Dawn reported 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 per cent. PM Sharif also directed against unimportant usage of electricity in offices.
In an Al Arabiya Post news report titled “No Immediate Respite in Sight from Power Crisis in Pakistan”, the Saudi publication argued that the acute energy crisis has “no sign of an immediate solution” as the political uncertainty and bickering continues while Pak economy is reeling under high inflation.
“The country is not in a financial situation to take concrete measures as foreign investment has come to a standstill and remittances are depleting. The ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the catastrophic floods in last June have only compounded the country’s energy woes,” the Al Arabiya Post report said on January 4.
This energy conservation plan 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.
Last week, the Pakistan Finance Ministry 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 per cent of GDP during July-October 2022-23 as compared to 0.9 per cent of GDP last year. (ANI)
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