Low savings  

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ACCORDING to data released by State Bank of Pakistan, the Central Directorate of National Savings (CDNS), which offers several saving schemes and certificates, received investment of a mere Rs7.28 billion in the first two months (Jul-Aug) of current fiscal year 2020-21. This means a nose-dive in saving as people had invested on an average over Rs.30 billion a month in the saving schemes in the previous fiscal year.
          This sharp fall in investment should be a cause for concern for CDNS as well as the Government, which relies heavily on money collected through saving schemes to run its affairs. Rate of savings in Pakistan was already low as compared to other countries due to a variety of reasons but the latest trend is worrisome in that the decline is in sharp contrast to elsewhere in the world where people saved more to cope with unforeseen challenges. There was a lull in economic and financial activity for about six months due to coronavirus and lockdown and people should have invested more in saving schemes in the absence of other investment opportunities like in the real estate and stock market. It is time for the planning and decision-makers to go deep into the factors that led to this state of affairs. Apparently, a steep fall in profit for saving schemes, increase in taxes for winners of prize bonds and shaky policy towards prize bonds shattered confidence of the people in saving schemes and steps should be taken to restore this confidence.

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