Finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal on Wednesday said they were expecting to restore previous interest rate of the postal savings scheme on conditions from March 17.
After chairing the meetings of the cabinet committee on economic affairs and national purchases at the secretariat, he told reporters that requirement of the Taxpayers’ Identification Number for saving up to Tk 2 lakh could be given to check abuse of the scheme,
The minister came up with the statement 13 days after the Internal Resources Division reduced the interest rates the postal saving schemes almost half that sparked widespread criticisms that the fund-crunch government wanted to take away the last straw of marginalised savers.
He also said that he would not say when the government would appoint a commission on the country’s fragile banking sector.
He, however, reiterated that a commission was a must.
Earlier, Mustafa Kamal said that the interest rate of postal saving schemes would be restored at the previous rates once the automation of the postal banking was finished. The automation is expected to finish by March 17, he said.
He pointed out that they were forced to slash the interest rate as savers rushed to the postal banks for higher benefits.
In absence of automation, the Internal Resources Division could not check the abuse of the saving scheme, he said.
The interest rates were reduced for the first year and second year of the deposit at 5 per cent and 5.5 per cent from previous 10.20 per cent and 10.70 per cent respectively.
The interest rate on savings in ordinary accounts of post office has also been reduced to 5 per cent from 7.5 per cent, which sparked criticisms that the government was blocking popular investment destination of middle- and lower-middle income groups.
The Internal Resources Division also reduced the interest rates on the schemes to 4 per cent, 4.5 per cent and 5 per cent for each period of six months or over from the previous 9 per cent, 9.5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.
Mustafa Kamal said that they approved proposals for procuring 4.5 lakh fertilizer from Saudi Arabia at a cost of Tk 1,329.5 crore and fuel oils for the state-owned Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation at Tk 159.12 crore.