ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet on Tuesday decided to close markets, shopping areas and restaurants by 8 pm under an energy conservation plan.
Briefing newsmen after the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the PM House. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said the implementation of the energy conservation plan would be finalised on Thursday after consultation with the provinces and having their input.
“Energy conservation and austerity are national causes and the federal government wants to implement them with provincial support,” the minister said.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Marriyum Aurengzeb and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Qamar Zaman Kaira were also present.
Khawaja Asif told reporters that the measures approved by the federal cabinet on energy conservation would help save huge amount of foreign exchange on import bills.
The minister said the cabinet agreed to close all restaurants and markets by 8 pm.
However, the closure of restaurants would be finalised after consultation with the provinces.
According to the plan, the government would implement a policy of working from home for 20 percent of government employees based on rotation, which would help save Rs62 billion.
Similarly, there would be strict implementation of the closure of wedding halls by 10 pm. Moreover, electricity fans, bulbs and geysers will also made conservation-friendly, while streetlights will be switched on alternatively.
Using a special device placed inside the water of a gas geyser could save Rs92 billion per year. Another Rs 4 billion would be held with less electricity consumption for streetlights while using LED bulbs would also help save Rs23 billion every year.
Moreover, the use of electric bikes will be encouraged, and the government is negotiating with a company for their manufacturing.
He said that the information ministry would also run a special campaign to create awareness among the masses about the utility of these measures.
The minister expects all these measures to be finalised within a couple of days after consultation with the provinces.
He said the cabinet discussed in detail the impact of this policy of implementing austerity measures, which would become part of the national culture and also help the nation get rid of financial problems.
Speaking on the occasion, Qamar Zaman Kaira said during the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif appreciated Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s efforts in presenting the case of Pakistani nation and Kashmiris before the world during his press conference at the United Nations.
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