Pak ‘Chai’ Crisis: Minister Appeals To Cut Back On The Beverage

16 June, 2022 | Nikita Gupta

Pakistan pays over $515 million every year to import chai leaves.

In a recent blow to Pakistan’s economy, the country’s Planning Miniter Ahsan Iqbal urged the citizens to curtail the intake of ‘chai’.

‘I would appeal to the nation to cut down one or two cups of tea because the tea we import is also imported on credit,’ Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Development, said.

The appeal comes as Pakistan struggles to preserve its foreign exchange. The neighboring nation, which is also the world’s biggest importer of tea, pays over $515 million every year to import chai leaves.

Pakistan is currently suffering from a massive and deteriorating economic Funds held by the Central Bank have dropped to about $10 billion in May from $16.3 billion in February, Reuters reported.

Last month, Pakistan announced restrictions on several non-luxury articles to cut costs. Though, it is said to have the least to nil impact on the import bill. These imports will only cover 5% of the total bill, The Independent reported.

The automobiles, cosmetics, and cigarette industries were the major sufferers of the Pak government’s decision. While cutting back on chai may help the economy, the ‘Chai’ addiction may result in an outrage that the Shehbaz government will have to face.