Pakistan’s Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has asked people to cut down on drinking tea to save foreign exchange.
The minister suggested that people reduce their daily tea intake by one or two cups.
“I appeal to the nation to reduce their tea consumption… because we import that tea after borrowing money,” he said in Islamabad on Tuesday.
Pakistanis on social media reacted with disbelief to the suggestion that appeared to undermine their popular tea culture.
“I have had three cups of tea since morning. Am I still a patriot?” one person asked.
Pakistan is one of the world’s top importers of tea, with the value of imports during the July 2020-June 2021 fiscal year at US$580.5 million.
In terms of quantity, tea imports grew about 16% to 258,491 tonnes for the 12-month period.
Pakistan is trying to reduce its import bill to conserve foreign exchange amid the rupee’s slide against the US dollar.