ISLAMABAD: National Savings in a press release here on Thursday clarified that there have been no across the board withdrawals in National Savings Schemes (NSS) as mentioned in some sections of the press.
The said press release was issued in reply to news items and queries from the press on the slow growth rate in the National Savings investments during the first half of 2017-18.
”The main exit in investments have been witnessed in three-year tenor schemes where the profit rates are linked to the primary auctions of Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIB) of relevant tenor, like all other NSSs. In the last six months consecutive bids of PIBs auctions have been rejected whereas no bids were received for six and twelve months Treasury Bills (T-Bills) after September 17, hence, the profit rates of NSS remained unchanged for the last one year (last revised in February 2017),” the press release stated.
On the other hand, the profit rates in the market, including the secondary market rates for PIBs, have been increasing, creating a temporary rate anomaly in the market and exodus of institutional investor’s funds from National Savings in medium-term deposits, and slow growth in investments otherwise. The main welfare scheme, Bahbood Savings Certificates (BSCs), which constitutes 23 per cent of the total portfolio of National Savings and offers up to 200 bps preferential rate has been registering increasing investment trend, despite the fact that this scheme is facing stiff competition from the microfinance banks, the press release added.
The weakening of Pakistani currency has been identified in the press as one of the possible reasons behind the low savings mobilisation. It is clarified that the anticipated depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar is not the reason for lower savings growth rate. National Savings investors are mainly individuals who have conservative investment outlook and do not risk to arbitrage for the short-term gains, the press release clarified
Despite lowest interest rates in decades, National Savings has raised Rs622 billion gross receipts in the last six months of the current financial year, which is the highest number of the gross receipts in the similar period over the last three years.
National Savings further informed in the release that, in order to arrest the situation of falling investment growth rate, it is making profound efforts to compete on the bases of customer service delivery instead of the profit rates only. It has recently established a Computerized Complaint Resolution System through which complaints are monitored till their final resolution through a system generated tracking ID. Along with this, a state of the art call centre has been established through which customers can register their complaints. National Savings has also created an app to further help the investors.
There are at least four new products, including Sharia Compliant Product, Overseas Pakistanis Savings Certificates (OPSCs) which are being launched in next five months to help compensate for the reduction in existing interest rate sensitive schemes.
Through these new products and modern initiatives, discussed above, National Savings aims to compete in the market on the basis of superior customer service delivery.