Govt decides to shut markets at 8pm under ‘energy conservation plan’

People buy garments after the government relaxed the weeks-long lockdown that was enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus, at a market in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

ISLAMABAD: (HRNW) Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday announced that the federal and provincial governments have unanimously decided to shut markets by 8pm across the country under ‘energy conservation plan’.

The federal minister made the announcement while talking to journalists after a meeting of National Economic Council (NEC) chaired Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif approved the estimated budget figures.

“The NEC has approved an energy conservation plan under which shops and commercial centres would be closed by 8pm,” he announced, noting that energy has become a huge challenge for Pakistan due to global prices.

“Saudi Arabia has cut down oil production by one million barrels, which poses a risk of oil prices rising to $100 per barrel,” he said, highlighting that if the country continued to rely on fossil fuel and oil for its energy needs, “our economy will remain vulnerable”.

In this regard, the planning minister said, one of the measures that the government wanted to implement pertained to energy conservation.

He pointed out that the federal cabinet had vowed to enforce decisions under a National Energy Conservation Plan last year. “However, there was no representation of provinces in that meeting,” he said.

“But now we hope that provincial governments will ensure the implementation of the energy conservation package that has been approved today,” he added.