The government is creating a legal framework to bring all the citizens of the country under the pension system apart from the government employees. A bill has been raised in the national parliament for this purpose.
Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal raised the ‘Universal Pension Management Bill-2022’ in the National Parliament on Monday. If the bill is passed, it will lay the legal basis for introducing a pension system for all. The Bill has been sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance Ministry to examine and report to Parliament within the next two months.
At present only government employees get pension benefits after retirement. The election promise of Awami League was that pensions will be introduced for all.
According to the bill, all Bangladeshi citizens from the age of 18 years and above to the age of 50 years can participate under the universal pension based on the national identity card. Special considerations have been made to keep people above fifty under this. However, to get the monthly pension benefits, the contributor must contribute continuously for at least 10 years after joining the public pension scheme. Bangladeshi workers working abroad can also participate in it.
The rate of this contribution has not yet been determined. It will be determined by the concerned authority after the law is passed. According to the draft law, the contributor will get monthly pension if he contributes continuously for at least 10 years. The pension will be paid against the deposit along with the accumulated profits in the pension fund on completion of the age of 60 years of the contributor. A pensioner will get pension benefits for life.
According to the bill, if a person dies before attaining the age of 75 years while on pension, his nominee will be entitled to a monthly pension for the remaining period (up to the age of 75 years of the original pensioner). If the contributor dies at least 10 years before the contribution is made, the deposited amount is returned to his nominee along with the profit.
If the money deposited in the pension fund needs to be withdrawn at any stage, the subscriber can withdraw up to 50 percent of the deposited money as a loan if he applies. Which has to be paid along with the fee. The money received from the pension will be free from income tax. Contributions earmarked for pension are treated as investments and are eligible for tax deduction.
According to the bill, the government can give a portion of the monthly contribution to the pension fund as a grant to citizens below the minimum income limit or in case of indigent contributors. Government, semi-government, autonomous or private institutions can participate in the public pension scheme. In this case, the authorities will determine the share of contribution of workers and institutions. However, the persons working in government and semi-government or autonomous organizations will remain out of the scope of this pension scheme until the government decides.
For this, the provision of a National Pension Authority has been kept in the bill. This authority will have an executive chairman and four members. The government will appoint them.
The bill provides for the formation of a 16-member Board of Directors. Its chairman will be the finance minister. Apart from this, Bangladesh Bank Governor, Secretary of Financial Institutions Department, Secretary of Finance Department, NBR Chairman, Secretary of Ministry of Social Welfare, Secretary of Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, Secretary of Ministry of Expatriate Welfare, Secretary of Ministry of Labor and Employment, Secretary of Posts and Telecommunications Department, Secretary of Prime Minister’s Office, Security and Chairman of Exchange Commission, President of FBCCI, President of Employers Federation, President of Women Chamber of Commerce will be its members. The member secretary of the board of directors will be the executive chairman of the authority.