The government is set to amend the electoral rules of Grameen Bank for the third time in four years after its previous attempts to elect nine directors from borrowers failed due to opposition of the microcredit lender.
The banks and financial institutions division (BFID) has prepared a draft electoral rules and sent it to the law ministry for vetting. Once the vetting is given, an election commission will be formed to hold the elections, a finance ministry official said.
As per the draft rules, a three-member commission will be formed and it will be led by a deputy managing director of a state-owned commercial bank. The other two members will be general managers of Grameen Bank.
In April 2014, the government issued an electoral rule with provisions that a three-member election commission will be formed with an executive director of the Bangladesh Bank as its head. The two other posts were said to be filled up by a general manager of Grameen Bank and a director of the Microcredit Regulatory Authority.
The then nine elected directors of the board protested the government move. The rules gave six months to the central bank to form the commission to pick the directors. But the BB 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.
This led the government to amend the rules in November in the same year.
The changes said the three-member body will comprise two deputy managing directors: one from a state-owned commercial bank and the other from Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation. A former district judge will serve as the chief election commissioner.
But in the last four years the government could not implement the rules. So, the posts of the nine directors have remained vacant.
In this context, K Mozammel Haque, chairman of Grameen Bank, on July 16 wrote a letter to the finance minister seeking approval to change some of the electoral provisions so that the bank can appoint one of its officials to oversee the election.
Haque's letter said the proposed changes will help in easing the current complexity as the new rules are not being applied. If the proposed amendments are approved, the election of directors could be organised in the quickest possible time, the letter said.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith held a meeting with Fazle Kabir, governor of the central bank; Md Eunusur Rahman, senior secretary of the banking division; Haque, and Ratan Kumar Nag, acting managing director of Grameen Bank, in the first week of August last year.
The new move is the outcome of the meeting.
Three government-appointed directors, including the chairman, have been running Grameen Bank since February 2015 after the tenure of the nine elected directors came to an end.
The Grameen Bank board is a 12-member body. Nine board members are directly elected by shareholders and borrowers of the bank, while the rest, including the chairman, are nominated by the government.