All 6 chairmen get extension
The government yesterday extended the tenure of six state-owned bank chairmen, despite widespread criticism over their performance.
Of the six banks, Sonali Bank was involved in the Tk 3,800-crore loan scam, a Bangladesh Bank probe has found.
According to a finance ministry gazette notification, Rupali Bank Chairman Ahmed Al-Kabir, Janata Bank Chairman Abul Barkat, Agrani Bank Chairman Khondoker Bazlul Hoque, BASIC Bank Chairman Sheikh Abdul Hye Bacchu and Ansar-VDP Development Bank Chairman MA Taher will remain in office for two more years.
Quazi Baharul Islam, chairman of Sonali Bank, which is at the centre of the Hall-Mark loan scam, will hold the top post until further notice.
The tenure of Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, was also extended by two years, the notification said.
The boards of the six banks were constituted soon after the Awami League-led alliance government took office more than three years ago, and their tenures were to expire on September 9.
A number of AL men were given posts on the boards, which sparked severe criticism from different quarters. Even the central bank warned the government about their performance several times.
But Finance Minister AMA Muhith yesterday said he did not think the board members were picked on political considerations.
"The bad people involved [in irregularities] have to be punished. Some members are bad, but I do not know them. We have to identify and punish them," he told reporters at the secretariat.
Following the revelation of the Hall-Mark loan scam, the BB in a letter to the finance minister recommended that the government reconstitute the board of Sonali Bank.
Speaking on the issue, Muhith said: "We have been in the process of restructuring these boards for a month."
On probable changes in the boards, he said, "Some will retain their places while some will go."
Analysts were alarmed at the "wholesale extension" of the tenure of the chairmen, saying the performance of these financial institutions in most cases was below expectation.
Akbar Ali Khan, former caretaker government adviser, said: "It is not wise to extend the tenure in a wholesale manner. It should be done based on the boards' performance."
"Those who have performed well should get extension, but there should not be any extension in banks where performance has not been good," he told The Daily Star yesterday.
The former finance secretary added that such moves would not help improve banks' performance.
"If the boards of the banks and their chief executives cannot work properly, then the situation at these banks will worsen further. Improving governance at these banks should be one of the top priorities of the finance ministry," he noted.