President orders CDNS to pay correct profits on certificates 

Head of state declares retrospective downward revision in profit rate a case of maladministration

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi has directed the Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS) to pay profit on Special Saving Certificates (SSCs) as per the profit rate prevailing at the time of purchasing the certificates.

The president issued the directions while accepting representation of an aggrieved citizen, Yasmeen Merchant, against a decision of the Wafaqi Mohtasib. He said the retrospective revision of profit rates was a case of maladministration and in contrast to the law that had caused the citizen a loss of Rs5.3 million.

According to the details, the complainant had purchased six SSCs from CDNS on November 1, 2019. The profit rate of five of these certificates at the time of purchase was 12.7 per cent and 13.9 per cent for the sixth one. Four days later on November 5, 2019, the Finance Division issued a notification reducing the profit rates to 11 per cent and 11.8 per cent, respectively. The revision was applied to all certificates issued from November 1, 2019, onwards.

She had approached CDNS and later the Wafaqi Mohtasib for redressal of her grievance but to no avail. She then filed a representation with the president, which he accepted.

The president held that the complainant was entitled to the profit rate set at the date of issuance of the certificates and that the change made through the notification did not apply to her investment, therefore, it could not affect her profit. 

Further, he pointed out that the notification was in the nature of subordinate or delegated legislation and took effect from the date of its publication in the official gazette and not a prior date. He added that the rationale behind it was that only legislative bodies could enact a law from a date prior to its enactment. He said the government by itself, unless authorised by the law, had no authority or power to issue a notification operative from a date different from the date of its publication in the official gazette. 

He further highlighted that a person may feel allured by the incentives floated by the government and act upon it, if the government retracts on its commitment, it may erode the general public’s confidence in government bodies besides, negatively affecting the government’s credibility. 

He stated that such law was based on settled legal principles and Quranic injunctions according to the first verse of Surah Al-Maida “O ye who believe! Fulfill your undertakings”. 

He declared that both sides were bound by the commitments made at the time of issuance of certificates and directed CDNS to pay the profit at the promised rates of 12.7 per cent and 13.9 per cent on the purchased certificates.

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Shahzad Paracha
The writer is a member of Pakistan Today's Islamabad bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]

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