KARACHI: The bearer prize bonds witness a massive withdrawal of Rs332 billion during the last one year; following the government’s initiative to document the saving schemes.
According to the latest statistics released by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Thursday, the investment in bearer prize bonds trimmed to Rs332 billion by September 2021, compared with Rs721 billion a year ago.
In June 2019, the government decided to discontinue high denomination bearer bonds in a phased manner.
The government on June 24, 2019, announced to discontinue the circulation of Rs40,000 denomination national prize bonds. Similarly, on December 10, 2020, it announced to discontinue the circulation of Rs25,000 denomination prize bonds and in April 2021, the Finance Ministry announced that the national prize bonds of denominations Rs7,500 and Rs15,000 would not be sold.
The last date to exchange the bearer prize bonds other than the denomination of Rs7,500 was September 30, 2021; however, it is now extended up to December 31, 2021.
The Finance Division issued the procedure for the redemption/conversion of bonds.
The bonds can be converted to premium prize bonds (registered) of denomination of Rs25,000 and Rs40,000 subject to the adjustment of differential amount through 16 field offices of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Banking Services Corporation, and branches of six commercial banks, i.e., the National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited, United Bank Limited, MCB Bank Limited, Allied Bank Limited, and Bank Alfalah Limited.
The bonds can be replaced with the Special Saving Certificates and Defence Saving Certificates through the 16 field offices of the SBP Banking Services Corporation, authorised commercial banks, and the National Savings Centre.
The bonds will only be encashed by transferring the proceeds to the bonds holder’s bank account through the 16 field offices of the SBP Banking Services Corporation, as well as the authorised commercial bank branches and to the saving accounts at the National Savings Centres.
Following the announcement to discontinue the bearer bonds, the investments in premium prize bonds recorded a phenomenal surge.
The investment in premium prize bonds surged to Rs52.77 billion by the end of September 2021, compared with Rs19.62 billion during the same month of the last year, showing an increase of 169 per cent.
The government on January 23, 2020, notified the national savings scheme rules for documentation of the investment to prevent money laundering and terror financing in such schemes.
The investment in saving scheme accounts also witnessed a decline to reach Rs993.65 billion by September 2021, compared with Rs1.015 trillion a year ago.
The investment in saving certifications also declined to Rs2.49 trillion by September 2021 as against Rs2.51 trillion a year ago.
Overall, the investment in saving schemes and prize bonds fell to Rs3.87 trillion by September 2021 as against Rs4.27 trillion a year ago.