Noted citizens reject new Grameen Bank rules
A group of noted citizens yesterday protested the newly scripted rules of picking directors for Grameen Bank, saying the regulations have taken away power from its majority shareholders, the rural women.
They called for unity to protect the interest of the bank's 85 lakh members who own 75 percent shares of the Noble Peace Prize-winning lender, while the rest 25 percent is owned by the government.
Their protest was in response to the Grameen Bank (Election of Directors) Rules 2014 published by the government on April 6.
"The government is plotting to get hold of the Tk 14,000 crore the Grameen Bank members have deposited with the bank," said Rafiqul Islam, a language movement veteran.
"We have to do everything within our means so the government can't do it," he said at a programme organised by the Bangladesh Projonmo Academy, a pro-BNP platform, at the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Islam alleged that the problem related to Grameen Bank is the personal problem of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Tuhin Malik, a noted lawyer, said the new rules are an attempt to rob the micro-lender in a digitised way.
The rules will disempower the 85 lakh members of Grameen Bank in order to entertain the arrogance of one woman, he said without mentioning the name of the woman.
Sadek Khan, a columnist, said the government is not honouring normal business practices in the world.
"Everywhere in the world, the shareholders pick their board members. But in case of Grameen Bank, the majority shareholders are not being able to do so."
"As a result, the fundamental rights of the shareholders are being violated," he said.
M Munir-uz-Zaman, a former secretary, said: "The rules have been formulated to install hand-picked directors in the board of Grameen Bank."
The new rules have empowered the central bank to organise elections to elect nine members in the 12-member board.