<i>Muhith poked, pacified</i>
Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday threatened to resign when a cabinet member criticised him severely over the issues of Grameen Bank and the World Bank loan for the Padma bridge project.
Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting, Jute and Textiles Minister Abdul Latif Siddique said the finance minister and his ministry had failed to deal with the Grameen Bank and WB loan issues, cabinet sources said.
At that, a riled Muhith thumped his desk, stood up and said that he would quit if he truly had failed.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who was in the chair, intervened and requested Latif to stop, saying Muhith was a senior minister and everybody respected him.
“Where will you [Muhith] go after leaving me? Even Rehana won't let you leave,” a minister quoted the premier as saying.
The debate ensued when Local Government and Rural Development Minister Syed Ashraful Islam asked Muhith why the GB chairman had not yet formed a selection committee to appoint the managing director even after the promulgation of the amended Grameen Bank ordinance.
Latif told the cabinet that because of his soft take on the Grameen and WB issues, Muhith could not resolve them.
Muhith said it would be better to appoint the MD for Grameen Bank once the ordinance was made into law by parliament, considering national and international perspectives.
On August 22, Muhith defended an amendment to the Grameen Bank Ordinance that conferred almost absolute powers on its government-appointed chairman to choose the MD for the Nobel-winning organisation.