• Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Freedom in the air

Grameen Bank Board

Govt to change rule to elect it

Staff Correspondent

The government will again amend Grameen Bank rules for electing nine women directors of the micro-lender as the central bank has declined to hold polls for picking new board members.

"Bangladesh Bank has said that holding the elections will lead to a conflict of interest as they [the BB] are a regulatory body," Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters at the secretariat yesterday.

"We will find ways to do it. There are a number of banks under the control of the government. We are working on the issue. I think we will be able to do something within a day or two."

On the issue of amending the Grameen Bank (Election of Directors) Rules 2014, the minister said: "We will have to write something in place of Bangladesh Bank in the rules."

The rules were introduced in April to transfer the power of appointing members of Grameen Bank board from the microcredit organisation itself to the BB, a move that brought the lender in the grip of the government.

The new rules gave six months to the central bank to form a commission to elect the nine directors of the 12-member board.

The BB has verbally informed the finance ministry that it would not be able to hold the elections, as it is not involved in any election either for private or public banks.

The BB and the government were in talks in July and August to know whether the central bank can hold the elections. The BB board also discussed the issue as the banking and financial institutions division of the finance ministry put pressure on it to hold the elections. 

The central bank has also informed the law ministry of its position and discussed the issue with senior lawyers.

However, Muhith yesterday admitted that "maybe opinions from the central bank were not sought before the responsibility of holding the elections was handed to it". 

Sources said a retired judge may be appointed to conduct the elections with the help of state-run banks and Grameen Bank. 

The recent development may make it difficult for the government to hold the elections within the six-month deadline, which ends on October 5.

 

Published: 12:00 am Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Last modified: 10:08 pm Wednesday, September 03, 2014

TAGS: Bangladesh Bank government Finance Minister AMA Muhith Grameen Bank central bank Grameen Bank (Election of Directors) Rules

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