12:00 AM, August 04, 2012 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 04, 2012

Editorial

Undermining Grameen Bank

Amending ordinance will result in politicisation

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In a shocking and perverse move, the Cabinet set in motion steps to amend The Grameen Bank Ordinance 1993 that effectively empowers the Chairman to have overall control in the institution's operations and denudes the powers of the real owners, all 8.3 million of them, 95 per cent of whom are destitute rural women from having any real say. According to what has been reported in the press, the new powers of the Chairman become absolute in sidelining the real owners of the bank those who own 97 per cent of the share. Presently, the Board has 12 members where only 3 members including the Chairman represent the government. The other 9 women members are elected from the grassroots by the 8million plus women shareholders. Hence, the latest effort shows the government's intention to change the very nature of one of the most unique bank in the world which has successfully empowered destitute women and has become a model for emulation throughout the world. The Nobel Prize was jointly awarded to both the institution and the founder and the government's deliberate move to change the way it is run is in effect, a camouflaged attempt to turn it into a government institution and we all fear and share the concerns of the Foundation.
The latest move is the culmination of a well-orchestrated policy of harassment of Professor Yunus that has been reduced to a personal level where his personal integrity is being questioned. This witch hunt apparently knows no bounds. Questions are being raised whether the founder of this internationally acclaimed institution took financial benefits from the bank after he stayed on as Managing Director beyond the age limit of 60. One may then easily ask whether Yunus had any right to receive the Noble Prize that was awarded to him in 2006 when he was aged 66.
The mean-mindedness is reflected in the latest decision and goes to show the government's resolve to continue to hound and harass a man who has brought so much honour and dignity to Bangladesh. In the present world after Nelson Mandela, he is perhaps the most revered person in the world having been awarded almost all awards of any worth by countries throughout the globe. The government will be well advised to desist from taking steps leading to politicisation of the bank and denuding the banks real owners from exerting their legitimate authority. It should also stop degrading a man who has done so much to have brought so much recognition to the toiling masses of the land.

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