By Mehtab Haider
ISLAMABAD: National Savings Schemes (NSS) generated Rs90 billion during last financial year 2007-08 against a target of Rs80 billion, data compiled by the Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) revealed on Tuesday.
The government has set a target of Rs150 billion for CDNS in current financial year 2008-09 but the finance ministry is said to be creating hurdles in the way of approving various products, currently in the pipeline.
The government claims it is making efforts to lessen its dependence on borrowing from the central bank but finance ministry high-ups are blocking other available options to generate required resources for meeting current year’s fiscal deficit target of 4.3 per cent of GDP.
“CDNS had requested to raise the rate of Defence Saving Certificate, but the finance ministry has not yet granted its approval,” a source said and added it sent alternative proposals, on ministry’s request, for introducing new schemes, but those were also lying on the tables of finance managers.
“CDNS has failed to meet its target of Rs37 billion by attracting investors in the first quarter (July-Sept) of the current fiscal year,” said the official source in the budget wing of the finance ministry.
When high-ups in CDNS were contacted, they said efforts to attract investors slowed down in the first quarter of every fiscal year and gained pace in the second quarter. “If the government approves a corporatisation plan, there will be no problem in achieving the target of Rs150 billion for 2008-09,” the source said.
Pakistan has the lowest investment-to-GDP ratio in the whole South Asian region. Without launching new products, investors would not invest their money in their own country. “Without making a corporation, CDNS cannot exploit its real potential,” the source said.
Various plans have been put on hold owing to a lack of independence required by this institution. A proposal was under consideration for joint ventures with reputed financial institutions in the Middle East to lure millions of dollars of investment from non-resident Pakistanis (NRP) but nothing has been done so far.
NSS expects to attract investments of around $500 million per annum from NRPs. The NSS management can utilise available avenues by inking agreements with Western Union and others for fast delivery of remittances through its 378 branches across Pakistan.
The government, the sources said, had prepared a feasibility report for expanding NSS operations in the Middle Eastern region.
The News, 29/10/2008