Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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Pakistan To Cut Energy Costs, Govt Staff To Work From Home Amid Economic Crisis

Pakistan’s government, which is dealing with a crushing power and economic crisis, has mandated energy conservation measures, including the shutdown of all malls and markets by 8:30 p.m.

Approximately 62 billion Pakistani rupees are anticipated to be saved as a result of the measures adopted by the cabinet, the defence minister Khawaja Asif informed journalists.

Pakistan is in a financial bind since the IMF program’s anticipated funding has been delayed. The majority of its imports, which are energy purchases, are barely covered by its foreign exchange reserves for a month.

The defence minister announced further precautions that will go into action right away, such as closing wedding venues and restaurants by 10 p.m. He claimed that although certain market representatives had lobbied for later closing times, the government had decided that earlier hours were necessary.

Asif added that Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister, had directed all government agencies to cut their use of electricity by 30%.

The actions are being taken as Pakistan tries to allay worries of a default following the IMF funding delay of $1.1 billion. Islamabad and the IMF disagree over an assessment of policy and reforms the organisation is conducting in Pakistan. November was when the review was supposed to be finished.

The IMF programme is connected to other essential foreign finance, making it difficult for the 220 million-person nation of South Asia to meet its external financing demands. Up until June, they amounted to more over $30 billion and included debt payments and oil imports.

Late last month, Pakistan had $11.7 billion in liquid foreign exchange reserves, $5.8 billion of which were held by the central bank. Its foreign exchange reserves in the beginning of 2022 were worth only half of that amount.

Asif stated that the energy saving plan also forbids the manufacture of inefficient light bulbs beginning in February and fans beginning in July.

Specifically because of the use of fans in hotter temperatures, he said that Pakistan’s peak summer electricity demand was 29,000 megawatts as opposed to 12,000 MW in the winter.

According to the minister, half of all street lights will be left off nationwide.

The majority of Pakistan’s electricity is generated by imported fossil fuels, such as liquefied natural gas, whose cost has increased dramatically recently.

By limiting imports and the long-term high inflation, the government has attempted to stabilise the economy. Import costs have increased due to a rapidly declining currency, and consumer prices have increased by 25% from July 1 to December 31 of the fiscal year.

The devastating floods that engulfed more than a third of Pakistan last year are still having an impact on Pakistan as it works to recover.

The Global Climate Risk Index created by the environmental NGO Germanwatch ranks the nation as the seventh most vulnerable to climate change-related extreme weather.

In recent years, floods, droughts, and cyclones have killed hundreds of people, forced thousands more to flee their homes, destroyed livelihoods, and devastated infrastructure.

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