The National Pension Authority is all set to invest Tk11 crore of the Tk12 crore thus far deposited by Universal Pension Scheme subscribers into government treasury bonds.
All necessary procedures for this investment will be completed tomorrow, with an official announcement expected at noon, sources within the Pension Authority told the Daily Sun.
Decisions will be made regarding the investment in other areas once guidelines are finalised, they added.
The prompt investment decision has been made to guarantee the safe return of funds to the subscribers, according to officials concerned.
Golam Mustafa, additional secretary of the finance ministry and a member of the National Pension Authority, said, “Merely collecting money is not enough. If investment is not carried out promptly, returning the funds will become complicated. Therefore, they have opted for a secure government treasury bond investment.”
Emphasising the importance of caution in investments, Golam Mustafa stated that for investments in other areas, committee opinions are necessary. For instance, market research is essential when investing in the stock market or any other project. Investments will not be made in areas with high risks.
However, Dr Zahid Hussain, former lead economist of the World Bank’s Dhaka office, emphasised the need for reducing dependency on bureaucrats in financial management. “It is crucial to involve skilled individuals in this endeavour, otherwise, risks may emerge.”
Contributions in 2 months
Since the commencement of the programme on 17 August this year, 14,846 people have enrolled in the Universal Pension Scheme, with a total deposit of Tk12.09 crore, as of 19 October.
The majority of investments were made in the Pragati Scheme, followed by the Surokkha Scheme. Investments in the other two schemes – Probash and Samata – were comparatively lower.
Why the lack of interest
Experts believe that it will take time for people to fully comprehend the scheme.
Additionally, mixed opinions about pensions among the public may be causing doubts. On the other hand, the finance ministry is saying that it is a government initiative, so there is no need to worry.
Evaluating the programme within one or two months is not feasible, said the experts, adding that educating the public will increase participation for sure.
The need for public awareness
The National Pension Authority feels that due to limited publicity, many people remain uninformed about the Universal Pension Scheme. Extensive publicity can potentially boost people’s interest in the pension scheme.
To spread awareness, the authorities have started advertising in national newspapers, and organising various discussions on televisions. They are also collaborating with foreign missions. Efforts are underway to reach out to people at the district level, with the involvement of deputy commissioners.
The Pension Authority plans to intensify the publicity campaign to educate people about the pension scheme after the forthcoming general election.
A new office of the Pension Authority has been set up in Kakrail, and an organogram has been prepared to recruit 200 employees.
The government has formed the National Pension Authority to bring the country’s growing elderly population under a universal pension scheme. The finance ministry issued a gazette notification in this regard on 12 February this year. The Authority has been formed in light of the Universal Pension Management Act-2023 passed by the government on 24 January.
Source: The Daily SUN.