DCs to have no role
The government will not appoint deputy commissioners (DCs) to oversee the election for nine borrower directors of Grameen Bank as it does not want to involve public servants in the election process.
A two-member government committee made the suggestion for appointing the DC, but the finance ministry ignored the proposal as it could cause unnecessary complications, a senior official at the Banking Division told The Daily Star yesterday.
The finance ministry has incorporated some changes in the draft of the Grameen Bank (Election of Directors) Rules, 2013. The draft has already been sent to the law ministry for vetting.
As per a provision of the proposed rules, the government will appoint a three-member election commission to supervise the poll for Grameen Bank directors in three phases.
The election commission would be comprised of representatives from Bangladesh Bank, a scheduled bank and Grameen Bank. The central bank will ensure the election in all three phases.
The two-member government committee of Shah Alam Sarwar, managing director of IFIC Bank, and Murad Reza, additional attorney general, had suggested conducting the election in two phases.
The two-tier electoral process would not be viable, said the Banking Division official.
The new rules have been drafted in line with the existing rules enacted in 1987. The finance ministry, however, has brought in a number of changes to it.
Under the existing rules, the Grameen Bank board appoints the one-member election commission. The board picks an official of the bank as the election commissioner for conducting the election.
The proposed rules also said the election commissioner would appoint an official of Grameen Bank as the returning officer instead of DCs.
The provision for appointment of DCs to conduct the election drew criticism from nine elected incumbent directors and employees of the microlender.
Although Finance Minister AMA Muhith publicly claimed that there were no rules for electing the directors of Grameen Bank, the government had formulated electoral rules on August 25, 1987, under which elections are held now.
Meanwhile, the Grameen Bank Act, 2013 will be placed at the cabinet today for approval, although the Grameen Bank Commission is yet to submit its final report to the government.
Formed in May last year to review the microlender's governing structure and its relations to the independent associated companies founded by Prof Muhammad Yunus, the commission was due to submit its report on July 20.
If ratified by parliament, the new law will replace Grameen Bank Ordinance, 1983, and put the microcredit organisation under the direct control of Bangladesh Bank.
Although the Banking Companies Act does not apply to Ansar VDP Bank, Karmasangsthan Bank and Probashi Kalyan Bank, the government is formulating new laws to bring the Grameen Bank under the Banking Companies Act.
While giving its opinion about the proposed Palli Sanchay Bank, the central bank said although these three banks were set up to serve special purposes, they have not been able to live up to the expectations.
Founded in 1983, the Grameen Bank has been run successfully and efficiently, said an expert. Winner of Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, its model has already been replicated in many countries.