In a federal cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Govt restores Saturday holiday on Tuesday approved restoring Saturday as a public holiday in an effort to “save electricity”, while also considering closing markets early to maximize daylight use.
Addressing a reporter after the meeting, Information Minister Mariyam Aurangzeb said restoring Saturday as a holiday would have an annual impact of $386 million and a $77 billion impact on the import bill.
He said the Energy Ministry had recommended changing Friday to a work-from-home day, adding that the prime minister had set up a committee to measure the efficiency of this move and report back to the cabinet at its next meeting.
The meeting also contemplated the anticipated closing of the markets to maximize the use of daylight.
The information minister added that Prime Minister Shehbaz will meet with traders and the business community tomorrow (Wednesday) to give them confidence before making a decision on closing markets.
He also said that the prime minister had approved a 40% reduction in the fuel quota for all government employees, including cabinet members.
Mariyum also said the cabinet had been advised to cut the quota by 33% for government employees only. However, the cabinet and the prime minister decided to reduce it by 40%.
“If people are asked to make sacrifices and go through hardships, so should the cabinet. The change started from within the cabinet to reduce the burden on the public,” he said.
Reduction of power outages
In addition, the cabinet would ratify the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee on June 3 and the energy division would present a load shedding plan.
The Information Minister added that the cabinet meeting was briefed on ways to reduce load shedding and improve the energy situation. The supply chain was also reported to be facing shortages because the previous government had not made fuel deals.
The minister stated that the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was unable to implement the projects that were started during the previous PML-N regime.