Azerbaijan may stop cash withdrawal fees for pension cards

Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 2 / Trend A.Ahundov/

The State Social Protection Fund (SSPF) of Azerbaijan is holding talks with banks and the Central Bank to abolish the fee paid when withdrawing a pension from pension cards using an ATM, Salim Muslimov, chairman of the Fund, told reporters on Friday.

"Currently we are preparing to hold a new tender on an automated payment of pensions by ATMs. Preconditions have already been prepared. The tender commission is also complete and will be announced within the next few days," Mr Muslimov said.

He said tenders will be held on 12 lots, each covering about 100,000 people. There are currently about 1.28 million pensioners in the country.

"One of the preconditions is that per every 1100 people there should be at least one ATM used. Also the banks themselves will produce plastic cards and make them available to pensioners; although the departments of the SSPF will not participate. The most fundamental condition is the price banks will offer for their services," - Mr Muslimov said.

He said an important issue today is to establish an interface between the banks that win this tender.

"An interface relationship between banks has not been yet established. Establishment will be beneficial to pensioners as they will not pay fees for using the services of any bank, and it will serve the interests of the banks themselves because it is easier to satisfy the condition that per every 1100 people there will be at least one ATM, "Mr Muslimov said.

He said earlier that the SSPF has agreed with the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA) and Kapital Bank to install an additional 73 ATMs throughout the country in order to improve the process of receiving pensions.

"One of the main issues raised by MPs during the discussions of the state fund budget in 2012 was a matter of installing additional ATMs for more convenient delivery of pensions to pensioners.

"During this period we met with the leadership of the IBA and Kapital Bank. We agreed to deliver and install an additional 50 ATMs of the IBA and 23 ATMs of Kapital Bank across the country. In addition, the IBA has ordered 50 more ATMs and four mobile ATM which will be installed across the country in the first half of 2012"- Mr Muslimov said.

The official exchange rate is 0.7865 AZN/USD.

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