Mobile financial service (MFS) provider, Nagad is going to be assigned to distribute stipend among the students of primary schools.
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education has started the process to sign a deal with Nagad in this regard following an instruction of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the stipend disbursement cost would come down by a third through the fastest growing MFS arm of the Bangladesh Post Office, said officials.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md. Zakir Hossen On October 10 said Nagad will provide the disbursement service at only Taka 7.5 for per Taka 1,000.
“Receiving the Nagad’s offer means we could save a lot of money which is being used to spend for disbursement and that is why I think it makes sense to choose Nagad,” he opined.
Officials said over the last few years, MFS provider SureCash has been receiving Taka 21 from the government as cash-out charges and data management for distributing Taka 1,000 in stipend.
Replying to a query, Zakir Hossen said they would sign an agreement with Nagad to this end within the next couple of days.
Ministry officials said SureCash received 1.85 percent of the total stipend fund from the government for cash-out charges, meaning it charged Taka 18 for cashing out Taka 1,000. It used to charge another Taka 3 per Taka 1,000 for data processing.
But, this whole work will be done by Nagad at Taka 7.5 for every Taka 1,000. Nagad would contribute the extra money, which would be needed to cash out during sending the stipends, to the beneficiary students.
Under the new agreement, stipends for three months — April to June– will be distributed by Nagad. If the students’ data is received from the ministry within a day or two, they (students) will get the stipend for the previous three months from this month.
Some 1.30 crore primary-level students get stipends in this process every year as the government spends about Taka 4,000 crore for it.
Officials familiar with the process said the ministry of primary and mass education had sent a summary to the Prime Minister’s Office with two alternative proposals. It had proposed to go for an open tender method (OTM) or to award it to Nagad directly as a government entity.
Primary and mass education ministry officials said numerous complaints during the distribution of stipends through SureCash were received in the last three years such as shortage of sufficient agent points for cash-outs, charging extra money by the agent from students etc.
At present, a primary level student gets a scholarship of Taka 100 to Taka 500 under this stipend programme which has cut the dropout rate down at the primary education level significantly.