State Bank of Pakistan has decided to discontinue the sale of prize bonds worth Rs.40,000. The decision was made as the prize bonds of Rs.948 billion were still unregistered in the country despite many efforts were being made to register them.
The government had introduced this scheme to promote the habit of savings but the bonds were excessively used by tax evaders to hide the black money.
However, the bonds can be registered before March 31, 2020, to save the invested funds otherwise, the money would be lost after the expiry of the term as the bond would be of no use.
Holders of these bonds have three options available to exercise before the expiry, which are:
– Bonds can be cashed in your registered bank account
– Bonds can be converted into Defense Saving Certificates (DSC) or Special Saving Certificate (SSC), through SBP offices, authorized commercials banks or National Savings Centers
– Bonds can also be converted into Premium Prize Bonds through SBP offices and authorized branches of the following commercial banks:
o National Bank of Pakistan
o United Bank Limited
o Muslim Commercial Bank Limited
o Allied Bank Limited
o Habib Bank Limited
o Bank Al-Falah Limited
By converting the bonds into saving certificates, prevailing fixed profit margins can be obtained. On the other hand, Premium Prize Bond offers higher prize money and a semi-annual profit. Premium Bond offers the highest prize of Rs.80 million as compared to the standard bond which offers Rs.75 million.
After the announcement, black market operatives are on the move to buy the bonds at Rs.35,000 claiming that the demand for bonds has dropped and if the holder opts to cash the bond, the net amount payable after tax would be Rs.35,000. SBP has announced that no such tax deduction would be made on the amount and people are suggested to avoid the agents outside the banks and use the official options to convert their bonds.