Savers walk a tightrope as NSC sales go online

Arafat Ara | Published: February 09, 2019 10:55:16 | Updated: February 09, 2019 17:58:47


Many savers find themselves in a difficult situation while purchasing national savings certificates (NSCs) via the newly-introduced online database system.

Since many of them are not familiar with the online process and have no electronic Tax Identification Number (e-TIN), they cannot purchase such tools in particular outlets, according to officials and savers.

The government launched savings certificates online database named 'National Saving Certificates Online Management System' last week. The initiative was taken to check the violation of limit of savings certificates and identify the genuine investors.

The online database was launched on a pilot basis at the headquarters of Bangladesh Bank, General Post Office (GPO) in Dhaka, Sonali Bank local office at Motijheel, and National Savings Bureau at Gulistan.

If the project is successful, all outlets will be brought under the system, said officials at the Department of National Savings (DNS).

On a visit to Dhaka General Post Office and Sonali Bnak booths, savers said they have no e-TINs and also bank accounts, so they cannot buy savings certificates.

But some of them said they are happy with the system as they will get yield through bank accounts.

"It is a good initiative as yield of the savings certificates will be sent to the respective accounts of savers," said Ahsan Habbib, an investor in this sector.

He faces hassles in bringing savings certificates' vouchers every month to draw profits, he said.

But Amena Begum, a housewife, said she feels uncomfortable with this system that is creating extra troubles as many of the small savers have no e-TIN numbers.

"I will purchase a savings certificate, but I have no e-TIN. I did not take e-TIN as my income is not taxable," she said.

E-TIN should be made mandatory for large investors, she said.

While the e-TIN is mandatory for savings certificates worth Tk 100,000 and above, DNS officials said cash transaction of up to Tk 100,000 is allowed.

But savers must submit cheques for buying savings tools if the value exceeds Tk 100,000.

The savers will also require bank accounts, mobile numbers while purchasing savings certificates.

When contacted, officials at the GPO said so far, they have sold only three savings certificates online.

Considering people's interest, the GPO is still selling the schemes both online and offline.

But they said they will eventually switch over the online system.

Currently, people cannot purchase the schemes in favour of their under-aged children due to mandatory e-TINs.

Three-monthly profit bearing and five-year Bangladesh Savings certificate have the provision of investment by under-aged children.

Wishing anonymity, a senior official at the Department of National Savings (DNS) said the sales of savings certificates declined in the outlets where online system has been introduced.

He expressed the hope people will gradually be familiar with the system and will prefer to invest online as it is hassle-free transactions.

He also said a section of savers buy the schemes, especially family savings certificates violating the ceiling.

Following mandatory e-TIN and NID, such malpractices will be stopped.

According to the DNS data, the net sales of savings instruments reached Tk 249.93 billion in the July-December period of the fiscal year, 2018-19.

The fiscal target of net borrowing from savings instruments is Tk 261.97 billion.

The DNS sells four types of savings certificates and the rates of yield are up to 11.76 per cent. It also sells different types of bonds to local and expatriate Bangladeshis.

Currently, around 20 million investors are involved in this segment.

arafat_ara@hotmail.com

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