Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan yesterday claimed that he met the CBA leaders and activists of Bangladesh Bank at its headquarters in the capacity of a trade unionist, not as a minister.
As he arrived, the Collective Bargaining Agent leaders greeted the minister at the BB headquarters around 1:40pm, clapping and chanting political slogans.
Shajahan then went to the office of Abu Hena Mohd Razee Hassan, a deputy governor of BB, as Governor Fazle Kabir was abroad.
Soon, two other deputy governors rushed there to meet the minister. The CBA leaders were with Shajahan at the time.
Top bankers and BB executives feared that the management of the central bank might face pressure from the CBA for undue benefits, such as postings, promotions and loans, as they have shown that they have the capacity to bring in a powerful minister to their internal meeting.
On top of that, the meeting was at a place considered the custodian of the country's economy.
The shipping minister attended the meeting which was part of a two-day representatives' gathering organised by the BB's CBA.
“As a politician and a minister, he can attend CBA programmes, no problem. But the question is, can he do it at the central bank?” said a top banker with four decades of experience in the industry.
This, however, was not the first time Shajahan showed up at the Bangladesh Bank for CBA meetings, He had done it six times before and three times whilst being a minister.
“I have come here to talk with the central bank's CBA leaders and activists about two issues. It is not my job to exchange views with the CBA on the overall situation at the central bank,” said the shipping minister after the CBA meeting yesterday.
Shajahan told reporters that he discussed mobilising funds for Rohingya refugees and sensitising trade unions to demand trial of BNP-Jamaat people who had bombed and killed people between 2013 and 2015.
Some people described his central-bank visit negatively with an ill motive, he added.
Each garment worker would donate Tk 10 through their respective factory owners to the fund he initiated for Rohingya refugees, Shajahan said.
Nearly 100 organisations under the Workers, Employees, Professionals and Freedom Fighters Coordination Council would also give money to the fund, the minister said.
Asked what was his opinion of the current state of the country's banking sector, Shajahan said the finance minister would talk about that.
Shajahan left Bangladesh Bank around 3:45pm.