The National Saving Centers work like banks. They collect money from the public and make interest payments when they are due. Unlike banks, however, their services are way below par.

Firstly, they have relatively short banking hours, from 9 am to 2:30 pm, as compared to those of commercial banks which are from 9 am to 5 pm. Such reduced banking hours lead to the formation of long queues at their counters. It is a pathetic, disturbing sight to watch since their customers are mostly women, pensioners, and senior citizens.

Secondly, if the Government increases the interest rate, the customers who invested in Saving Certificates have to go through a cumbersome process to avail the higher interest rates. The process involves surrendering of old certificates and applying for new ones. Since this process takes place manually, it can take hours leading to the crowding at counters.

Short and quick solutions are implementable. They cannot, however, be carried out by our bureaucracy since they will benefit the public, and our civil service has not been trained in this way. Instead, there is a need to appoint an outsider from the corporate sector as head of National Savings Organisation, someone who can think outside the box and benefit common people.

P S Ahmed,

Islamabad, June 13.