Pakistan National Savings schemes attract over Rs130bn

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ISLAMABAD: The Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) has crossed the Rs130 billion mark by luring investments in savings schemes till March 20 against a total target of Rs150 billion for financial year 2008-09.

Official sources confirmed to The News on Saturday that the finance ministry had set a target of Rs150 billion in investments in various schemes offered by the National Savings Scheme (NSS).

The target was set on the basis of introducing three new schemes including short-term financing certificate as well as a paper offering an attractive rate of profit to overseas Pakistanis sending remittances home.

CDNS has crossed the Rs130 billion mark and is expected to achieve s target of Rs150 billion by the first week of next month. “The finance ministry expects CDNS to hit Rs170 to Rs180 billion by the end of June,” an official source said.

When newly appointed Finance Secretary Salman Siddique was contacted for comments on Saturday, he said that the government was all set to launch much-needed restructuring of CDNS in order to equip it with latest technology. “The finance ministry will take up the issue of CDNS restructuring by next week in a high-level meeting,” he said.

However, official sources in the finance ministry said that the government has lured investments of over Rs130 billion in old schemes till March 20. The amount included investments from major public sector institutions as well as the corporate sector, which deposited their pension and other funds.

Citing examples, sources said that in the recent past some public sector institutions had invested various funds such as pensions and workers welfare fund with private banks but one such bank collapsed, causing loss of money to the employees.

Public sector institutions such as Oil and Gas Development Company, Pakistan Mineral Development Company and many others have invested billions of rupees in savings schemes being offered by the CDNS, the source added.

“In CDNS schemes there is a government guarantee, which helps public sector institutions as well as corporate giants to confidently deposit their money with them,” an official said.

On the restructuring process of CDNS, sources said that the finance ministry will submit PC-1 before the Planning Commission in order to achieve desired changes in the working of the NSS office located at every nook and corner of the country.

The main objective of the restructuring will be to introduce computerised technology by connecting all its offices with each other. It is expected that PC-1 will be approved by relevant forums of the PC within the current fiscal year, added the official.

When official sources were asked about undue delays in approving three new schemes for the NSS, they said that a conflict of interest definitely existed, because CDNS attracting more firms resulted into narrowing down the space of commercial banks and those who are at the helm of affairs are trying to protect the interests of the banking sector.

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