After severe economic crisis, Pakistan is suffering from energy crisis. Due to severe shortage of fuel in the country, the government has ordered the closure of markets and other shops including shopping malls by 8:30 pm. It also calls for early sleep and early rise to save electricity.

The measures will save the South Asian country about $274 million, the BBC reported, citing Defense Minister Khawaja Asif.

Currently Pakistan generates most of its energy using imported fossil fuels. As global energy prices have skyrocketed over the past year, the country’s energy crisis has worsened as well as its economic crisis. For these energy imports the country needs foreign currency, especially the US dollar.

Last month, Pakistan’s government had only $11.7 billion in reserves, after a nearly 50 percent drop in its reserves last year. With this amount of reserves, it is possible to pay almost one month’s worth of all the country’s imports.

Defense Minister Asif told reporters on Tuesday that shopping malls and markets must be closed by 8:30 pm local time and government departments have been ordered to cut power consumption by up to 30 percent.

On the other hand, the production of inefficient electric fans will be banned from the beginning of July.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) party said on Twitter, “Federal Cabinet approves immediate implementation of Energy Conservation Plan.”

The country of 220 million people has been struggling for years to stabilize its economy. Pakistan received a $6 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund in 2019. The country received another $1.1 billion in August last year. It is also negotiating with the IMF for a delayed release of another $1.1 billion in bailout money.

In October, the World Bank estimated that the country had lost about $40 billion due to floods.

(January 4)