Jasim Uddin Sarker
The government is going to increase the interest rate of two national savings certificates in the upcoming fiscal year.
The National Board of Revenue has proposed to increase the interest rate of Pensioner Savings Certificate and Family Savings Certificates by 1 per cent to 12 per cent in the next fiscal year’s budget, which will be placed at the Jatiya Sangsad by finance minister AMA Muhith tomorrow.
The government’s six-member committee led by Ziaul Hasan Siddiqui, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, has recommended that interest rates be hiked in line with the commercial banks which have already raised the interest rates of various forms of deposits.
The Directorate of National Savings Certificate has already revised the target for the sale of savings certificate and bonds to Tk 6,400 crore, which is about Tk 1,000 less than the former target of Tk 7,476 crore. This has been done because of the current downtrend in the sale of savings certificates.
Sources in the finance ministry said that because of the sluggish investment situation and slowdown in the sale of savings certificates, the government is taking steps to boost the sale of National Savings Certificates.
The net sale of National Savings Certificates in the nine months of the current fiscal year stood at Tk 2,637 crore, only a bit more than a quarter of the amount of Tk 8,530 crore in the same period of the previous fiscal year.
The Centre for Policy Dialogue’s executive director, Mustafizur Rahman, told New Age that the government should increase the interest rate of all the savings certificates to encourage the middle-class people to invest more.
‘The difference between the rising interest rate of banks’ savings schemes and the low interest rate of National Savings Certificates should be made as small as possible,’ he said.
There are four savings certificates under the National Savings Directorate: the five yearly Bangladesh Savings Certificate, the three-month profit-based Savings Certificate, the Pensioner Savings Scheme and the Family Savings Certificate.
In addition to the National Savings Certificates, the Bangladesh Post Office’s savings bank have two types of savings: term savings and general savings. The interest rate for the term savings is 10 per cent and for the general savings 7.5 per cent.
The government, in the national budget of the current fiscal year, imposed 10 per cent tax on the total interest/profit of the savings certificates, and at the same time reduced the interest rate of National Savings Certificates to 10 per cent from 12 per cent, of 3-monthly savings certificate to 10 per cent from 11.50 per cent, post office savings certificates to 10 per cent from 12 per cent and of the Wage Earners’ Scheme to 10.50 per cent from 12 per cent.
But the 11.00 per cent interest rate of the Pension Savings Certificate and 11.04 per cent rate of the Family Savings Certificates has remained unchanged.