Pakistan to shut markets and restaurants early to save power amid economic crisis

People walk outside shops at the Atrium Mall in Karachi.
Islamabad/New Delhi CNN  — 

Pakistan’s economic woes show no signs of letting up in 2023.

The South Asian nation announced a new energy conservation plan Tuesday as its fragile economy continues to struggle with multiple challenges. The government has ordered all markets to close by 8.30 pm and restaurants by 10 pm, according to a tweet by its ruling party. These measures will help the country save 62 billion Pakistani rupees ($274 million), the post added.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has also ordered all federal departments to reduce their energy consumption by 30%. The country is in the midst of a severe energy crisis and is heavily dependent on imported fuel.

The announcement comes at a time when Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have dwindled to alarmingly low levels. In December, Pakistan’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves stood at $11.7 billion, which is half the amount it held at the start of last year, according to the central bank.

The country’s finances are also suffering because of differences with The International Monetary Fund (IMF) over a review process, which has delayed the release of a $1.1 billion bailout tranche.

“Survival without IMF is not an option given the scale of the external financing needs,” wrote analysts at Arif Habib, a Karachi-based research firm, in a recent report.

Pakistan had tried several measures to save energy last year as well, including reducing its working week.

Source: CNN

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