How much does a public holiday cost national kitty?

PM Shehbaz Sharif announced a public holiday today across Pakistan on account of Youm-e-Takbeer

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Web Desk
How much does a public holiday cost national kitty?
A man counts Pakistani rupee notes at a currency exchange shop in Peshawar, Pakistan September 12, 2023. — Reuters  

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a public holiday on Tuesday (today) across Pakistan on account of Youm-e-Takbeer, bringing the country to a standstill which also led to the postponement of exams.

The premier announced the holiday to mark the historic day when Pakistan conducted successful nuclear tests in the hills of Chaghai in 1998. 

However, due to this sudden public holiday, the provincial authorities once again deferred the matriculation exams in Karachi slated for Tuesday. 

The holidays also lead to the closure of all government departments, banks and the Pakistan Stock Exchange, courts, and all educational institutes. 

According to Geo News, Pakistan — which is already suffering from inflation and has a weak economy — already observes 120 offs (including public holidays) every year. Due to a single day off, the national GDP faces a 1-2% loss which equals to more than Rs100 billion.

Single holiday impacts national kitty $1.1-1.3bn 

Economic analyst Khurram Schehzed said that a single public holiday can impact the national exchequer between $1.1 to 1.3 billion. However, he added that a "sudden" holiday makes a bigger impact. 

"If you take a decision after the end of a business day then the impact is double than that," said Schehzed while speaking during Geo News programme "Geo Pakistan". 

He explained that this happens because a lot of businesses, industries and corporations have already planned their next day and have to cancel their activities. 

Not in favour of public holidays personally: PML-N senator 

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Irfan Siddiqui, while speaking on the same show, said that it is an important day for the country. 

When asked why the government decided to announce a holiday all of a sudden, Senator Siddiqui said that he is personally not in favour of public holidays. 

He said that this is not a good tradition, however, if this public holiday wasn't announced then maybe no one would be discussing this day. The senator added that this decision was taken in Islamabad and he was not a part of it.