Universal Pension Scheme Attracts 13,000 New Registrants in One Month. A month has passed since the highly anticipated Universal Pension Scheme was launched for citizens across the country. The pension scheme, which commenced on August 17, has seen significant participation, with 13,000 new registrants joining as of Monday, September 17.
Golam Mostafa, a member of the National Pension Authority and additional secretary of the Ministry of Finance, confirmed this milestone to Dhaka Post. He highlighted that 12,970 individuals have actively enrolled in the pension scheme by making installment deposits.
Universal Pension Scheme Attracts 13,000 New Registrants in One Month
Mostafa acknowledged that the registration count could have been higher if registrations alone were considered, but the focus is on those who have taken the tangible step of depositing funds.
In response to questions about the seemingly modest response to the scheme, Mostafa emphasized that one month is a relatively short period for such a program. Many participants joined spontaneously, and further awareness campaigns are necessary to bolster enrollment. Additionally, individuals are carefully assessing their financial capacity before committing to the scheme, requiring time and patience.
Addressing concerns about confidence in receiving pension payouts, Mostafa explained the seamless process. Pension scheme recipients do not need to visit any physical locations, present or future. They provide their bank account information during the application process, and when the time comes for pension disbursement, the funds are transferred directly to their accounts through an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) system. This automated process eliminates any potential for human interference or harassment.
The government introduced the Universal Pension Scheme with four distinct options: Prabas Scheme, Pragati Scheme, Suraksha Scheme, and Samata Scheme. On its launch day, the scheme received an enthusiastic response. Under the scheme’s rules, the pension amount at the end of the term increases with higher deposit amounts. Moreover, low-income individuals depositing 500 taka monthly receive a government subsidy of an additional 500 taka from the outset. Ultimately, the scheme promises substantial returns for all participants at the end of the specified period.
Finance department officials note that national pension systems are successfully operating in many countries worldwide. In Bangladesh, funds collected in the public pension sector will be invested profitably, and the scheme will benefit from the returns. Furthermore, contributions made towards the pension will qualify for tax rebates, and the monthly pension received will be exempt from income tax, as stipulated in the Universal Pension Act.
The initiative to introduce the universal pension system was announced during the budget session of the 2022-23 financial year. Subsequently, the “Universal Pension Management Act, 2023” was passed by the Jatiya Sangsad to launch the Universal Pension Scheme. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the program on August 17, marking its availability to the public.
Following the inauguration, the National Pension Authority website, www.upension.gov.bd, was launched, enabling online registrations and various payment methods, including mobile financial services, debit/credit cards, and bank payments, for participation in the four pension schemes. Since the system’s launch, it has garnered significant interest from both residents of Bangladesh and those living abroad.
As per the Universal Pension Scheme Rules issued by the Ministry of Finance, subscribers become eligible for lifelong pension benefits after reaching the age of 60. In the unfortunate event of a subscriber’s demise after paying into the scheme, their nominee or heir will receive pension benefits for a period of 15 years.
Currently, four distinct schemes cater to different groups under the universal pension system: Pravas for expatriates, Pragati for private sector workers, Protection for citizens in the informal sector (self-employed), and Samata for low-income individuals. Additionally, there are plans to introduce two more packages for workers and students in the future.