Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday criticised her cabinet colleague AMA Muhith for praising the role of microcredit and Dr Muhammad Yunus in eradicating poverty.
“A couple of days back, our finance minister highly praised microcredit and said poverty eradication efforts had been successful due to microcredit. If poverty was reduced due to him [Dr Yunus], then why the poverty rate was 60 percent [then] and now it is 22 percent?” she questioned.
The PM was addressing the national council of Bangladesh Mahila Awami League at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh.
“I would like to request the honourable finance minister to look at the statistics during which period poverty had reduced. This, of course, happened during the tenure of the Awami League government. Poverty rate came down due to steps taken by the Awami League government in which the finance minister was involved,” Hasina said.
During 1996-2001, then finance minister SAMS Kibria was involved in the process. The pace of poverty reduction stalled during the rule of the former BNP and caretaker governments, the PM told the programme.
The AL chief said the hard-earned money of the rural women was used in repaying debts to microcredit organisations with a high interest rate. “They live from hand to mouth, but cannot come out of poverty, and those who do microcredit business don't want poor people to get out of poverty as it would stop their business.”
She said the main aim of her government was to eradicate poverty from the country. “It's a matter of regret that he [finance minister] praised such a man who stopped the World Bank from financing the Padma Bridge project... I had been threatened repeatedly by the USA. But he [Muhith] highly appreciated that person.”
Speaking at a programme in the city on Thursday, Muhith praised Nobel laureate Dr Yunus and Brac founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed for their pioneering efforts to eradicate poverty from the country.
The minister said the initiatives of Prof Yunus and Sir Abed started on a very small scale, but over the years they transformed those initiatives into institutions.
“I think these two projects [Grameen Bank and Brac] exhibited the country's success in poverty alleviation,” he added.
'TAKE CARE OF CHILDREN'
Hasina urged mothers to take good care of their children so that they do not take wrong path.
“Parents need to pay extra attention to their children so that they don't walk on the wrong path of militancy and terrorism, and resort to drug addiction...mothers have the greater responsibility.... I want mothers to pay extra attention to their children,” she told the Mahila Awami League council.
Militancy has emerged as a new menace across the globe and it is very much regrettable that girls too are getting involved in it, said the PM.
She asked the leaders and workers of Mohila Awami League to publicise her government's development activities so that the party could win the next national election to maintain the pace of development.
Presided over by Mohila AL President Ashrafunnesa Musharraf, the function was addressed, among others, by Mohila AL General Secretary Fazilatunnesa Indira.
Earlier, the PM inaugurated the council through raising the national flag.