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Turning unemployment into entrepreneurship- Dr. Yunus June 13, 2014

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH.
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Dr. Yunus has written an article for the young job-seekers titled ‘We are not job seekers, we are job givers’in a bid to turn the unemployment into entrepreneurship.
The article is quoted in different newspapers and journals, local and internationals.[1][2][3]
The link for Bangla
‘আমরা চাকরি প্রার্থী নই, আমরা চাকরি দাতা’ — বেকারত্ব থেকে উদ্যোক্তা

An ordinary citizen

Grameen Experience and Prospect of PPP in Bangladesh August 14, 2012

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY.
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I was listening to a talk show in the midnight in one of TV channels. One of the experts of the program was a professor of a university. He was discussing the impact of experience of Grameen on the future of Private Public Partnership’ in Bangladesh.
Grameen Bank was institutionalized through an ordinance in 1983. Through this ordinance, Bangladesh Government has the privilege of having a percentage of share in the capital of Bank and also to appoint the chairman and to have 2 more members in the board of directors. Initially the government had a good share but at present it comes to 3% and the client shares is 97%.
Dr. Muhammad Yunus was its Managing Director since its inception till 2011 until he had to resign on the pressure of the government. During his stay in the helm of bank over the last 30 years, Dr. Yunus had transformed the bank into an internationally acclaimed institution that also brought Nobel Peace Prize Prize not only for him but also for Grameen Bank. Grameen bank has 8.3 million borrowers, 97% of whom are women, about 25 thousand employees, covered above 80,000 villages, distributed more than 11.5 billion US $ (approx. tk 700 billion), recovery rate is 95%.

Government has recently taken a move to change the Grameen Bank ordinance 1983 to empower the government selected-chairman to fix the managing director of his choice ignoring the elected members of the borrower-shareholders of the Grameen bank. Earlier the government also forced Dr. Muhammad Yunus to resign from his of Managing Director against the will of Board of Directors.

The move will create confusion in the minds of the willing partners of PPP of loosing their control on the joint enterprises with the Government.

An ordinary citzen

Grameen Again: A State vs An Individual August 7, 2012

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, GOVERNANCE.
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The Council of Minister of Bangladesh has adopted a proposal on 2nd August 2012 to amend the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 to reduce the power of Board of Directors to select the Managing Director of the Bank and to empower the Chairman of the Bank to nominate the same on his own choice.
The proposals also include clauses that question the legality of Dr. Mohammad Yunus to enjoy the financial benefit after
the age of 60 yr that he had served as MD of the Bank. The Council of Ministers also asks the NBR to check the money he earned as wage earner and tax that he had evaded for that.

Dr. Yunus has expressed fear and frustration over the move of the Government as it will destroy Grameen Bank and deprive its women shareholder their due right and ask the countrymen to step forward to save the bank.

Dr. Kamal Hussain, an eminent jurist and an author of Bangladesh Constitution, wonders why Government is out to damage the reputation of Dr. Yunus . Dr. Hussain Zillur Rahman, an economic researcher and an Ex-Adviser to the Caretaker Government and Dr. Mirza Azizul Islam, ex-Finance Adviser to the last caretaker government also criticized the move of the Government.
In an editorial,Daily Star, the English daily cautioned that the amendment will undermine the Grameen Bank and the move will end in politicization.

The US also expressed its worry at Government actions on Grameen Bank and it sees the move as a disregard to the request Hillary Clinton made in her last visit to Bangladesh a few months back.

An ordinary citizen

Post script:

7th Aug 2012
NBR men swoop on 54 Grameen entitis

8th August 2012

NBR finds no wrongdoing in taxes by Grameen or Dr. yunus.

9th Aug 2012
58 leading women leaders ask Government to leave Grameen Bank as it is and not to change the ordinance and deprive the owners

A Conversation with Dr. Yunus on Social Business Day 2011 July 6, 2011

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, Yunus.
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I was not sure that I could attend the evening session of social business day that held in Hotel Pan Pacific Sonargaon on 28th June 2011. The session was exclusively for the students. But as Dr.Yunus declared in the morning that others could attend but would not participate in the conversation I took the opportunity and stayed for the evening session.

When I entered the Hall after a small lunch in the costly Pan Pacific, I found the hall full of young girls and boys. Later I knew that they are students of different universities, private and public from Bangladesh and also some from other countries.

As we were waiting,Dr.Muhammad Yunus and Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala, President of Wockhardt Foundation approached to the lone Sofa on the podium.After a brief introduction by Dr. Huzaifa Khorakiwala conversation started. Dr. Khorakiwala took the moderator’s role.

We were informed that students from 20 professional institutes/universities across India were participating in the discussion. Also people are watching through yytube, a special online video media developed for the transmission of the program. Five of India’s top Management Institutes -Symbiosis Management Institute Pune, ISB Hyderabad, Great Lakes Chennai, Narsee Monjee Mumbai and Shree Ramachandra Medical University, Chennai were among the institutes participated.

Students from Indian institutes started to ask questions. Maximum 2 questions were allowed to be asked by each institution. On preventing the microlenders from going weird Dr. Yunus told that microfinance is not for business or not for making money but to support the poor to make them financially solvent. The microfinance institutions should be well regulated. On the way how students can play role in social business,he told that social business needs ideas, needs creativity. The young brains have ideas, so they will develop ideas, ideas for social business. On getting fund , he told that there will be social business fund. There are people who could contribute for social business fund and with creative ideas social businesses will develop.
Students from the audience also asked questions. But East West University surprised us all when they stood up singing ‘happy birth day’ to Dr. Yunus as the day was coincided with the birthday of Dr. Yunus. They also handed over flowers to Yunus coming to the podium.

Dr. Yunus continued to answer few more questions. Thousands of people were watching over internet. One of last questions was from East Timur. The question goes like,’people in East Timur have liking for social business but they have no entrepreneur to take the initiative’. Dr. Yunus in reply said that entrepreneurship is not something confined to a geographic area. Every person has the potential to be a good entrepreneur. One needs to have idea and take initiatives.

We enjoyed the conversation very much and the program looked ended early after 2 hours of conversation.

The whole episode was organised by Wockhardt Foundation of India and Yunus Centre Bangladesh. WF is a non-profit organisation committed to social uplift.

From Bangladesh, 400 students from 12 universities including IBA, North South,East West,Brac and Dhaka University and 50 students from USA, UK, Japan, Italy, Austria, Thailand etc participated in the program.

After the program, students signed their books in long queue by Professor Yunus. I have also signed my two books by him.

The whole episode is an unforgettable memory.

An ordinary citizen

Link : Live Telecast by Wockhardt Foundation

A Social Business Day July 4, 2011

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, Yunus.
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I was just in time at the Pan Pcific Hotel Sonargaon at Dhaka on 28 June 2011, after 10 hours of long overnight journey by train. I introduced myself to the registration corner and got my name checked.

The theme of day was ‘achieving millennium development goals by social business’. The premier discussion started at 10 am. The session was chaired by Dr. Mohammad Yunus himself.

At the start of the program Professor Yunus introduced the guests coming from all over the world from Japan to Costa Rica. In his inaugural speech Dr. Yunus explained the social business, its scope and difficulties. Some of the points that I marked in his speech are- ‘people will attract to social business as it is a simple term, easy to understand’, ‘it is dedicated to alleviate the poverty’, ‘is addressed to any social problem’, ‘based on no loss no dividend policy’. He hopes that though social business is in it’s early stage like the aeroplane of the Write Brothers but soon the supersonic planes will fly over.

Then the speakers on the dias spoke on their experience on social business one by one. Thomas Stelzer, UN assistant secretary-general for policy coordination and inter-agency affairs was present in the day as a representative of Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of UN. He declared that Dr. Muhammad Yunus has been made a member, among 20 other Nobel Laureates, of the Millennium Advisory Group to the Secretary General. He told that he has come to have a deeper understanding of the social business as tool to achieve the millennium goals. Saori Dubourg, president of regional functions and country management for Asia-Pacific of BASF narrated their experience in providing insecticide impregnated mosquito nets to the rural people of Bangladesh as social business. Corinne Bazina, chief executive of Grameen-Danone described their struggle to provide the vitamin fortified yugurt to improve the nutrition of Bangladeshi children. Hans Reitz, founder of Grameen Creative Lab, Germany described his new mission of solving problems by social business after long years of expreience in entrepreneurship. Masaharu Okada, executive director of Grameen Creative Lab at Kyushu University in Japan discussed why they started Grameen Creative Lab to find out solutions to the social problems and Grameen Technology Lab to innovative technologies to support social business. He expressed using social business to serve the victims of Japan recent earth quacks and Tsunami.

A Bangladeshi businessman,based in Bahrain, running fiber glass business worldwide, narrated how he thought of founding a fibreglass factory in Bangladesh through social business model. At the end Dr. Yunus thanked all who came from abroad and all who participated from Banladesh to support the social business initiative.

Dr. Yunus also has given a short interview to the media. One interesting question they asked whether he starts social business bieng failed in microfinance. He replied ‘Microfinance (Grameen Bank) is also a sort of social business, whether it failed not time will tell. We are now thinking of many other social business to alleviate the poverty’.

About 1200 participants from home and abroad were present on the event. Delgates from USA, French, Germany, Italy, Swizerland, Japan, India, Middle East and Costarica attended the event. Citizen Groups representatives Mr. Hafizuddin, ex adviser to the caretaker government, Mahfuz Anam, editor Daily Star, Badiul Alam Majumder, Secretary , Citizens for Good Governance,Dr. Ainun Nishad, Bagladeshi water expert, Atiqul Hoque chowdhury, eminet play writer, Abul Ahsan Chowdhury, ex-state minister for foriegn affairs of last AL regime among many that I could recognize in the meeting among the locals.

After the premier program, Dr. Yunus visited the stalls that are set to project the social business activities that the companies and institutions were promoting.The stalls include Grameen Bank, Yunus Centre, Grameen Dannone, Grameen-BASF, Grameen Veolia, Japan Kyushu University, Grameen Nursing College, A solar energy from India, Grameen Shakti and few more. Dr. Yunus took the trouble to visit every stall and gave time to listen their ideas of projections.

The event was neat, well organised and highly satisfying to the participants.

An ordinary citizen

Links:
Social Business Day 2011- All the Links

Dr.Yunus, controversies & comments December 16, 2010

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, GOVERNANCE, Media, POLITICS, Yunus.
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3 comments

When I first saw the news in a leading Bangla newspaper, I was surprised and hardly believe myself. The headlines and the news is arranged in such a way as if Dr. Yunus has removed $700m from Grameen Bank for his own purpose. Many people who didn’t go into the depth of the news would be confused the way it was presented in the media except a few.

Tom Heinemann, a journalist from Denmark cites in his documentary of the events of 14 years back that was shown in the Norway National Television. The documentary shows that Norway and allied countries collected 700m and donated to Grameen Bank for the alleviation of poverty.

Grameen Bank in a Board Meeting headed by Dr. Yunus decided to transfer the money to Grameen Kalyan for better utilization of money. The money was deposited back to Grameen Bank, the interest of which was utilized for education, housing and business of the poor people.

Interesting is that the news got huge coverage in Bangladesh media. They not only accused Dr. Yunus of wrong doing but many of them expressed their in-confidence over the microcredit system operating in the country and abroad. In the Internet blogs, facebook and other social media were flooded with posts and comments. While many of the comments from Bangladesh were crudely critical, the observation from outside were mostly cautious. The Grameen Bank on behalf of Dr. Yunus was awkwardly trying to defend Dr. Yunus by disseminating the facts at its hand. Even MPs demanded inquiry into the allegation. Prime Minister Sk. Hasina came out as the harshest critic on the event. Dr.Yunus hails the bid for inquiry. He emphasised that there was no wrong doing. A news also circulated in the media in reference to Indian PM which proved false.

When the tide was at it’s peak, the Government of Norway issued a statement that there is no irregularities or embezzlement of any fund by Dr. Yunus and Grammeen Bank and the issue was settled in 1998. The statement drew a curtain over the controversies regarding Dr. Yunus and Grameen Bank pointing at the shallowness of our thoughts and intellect as a nation.

I was amazed by some of the answers of Dr. Yunus to the journalists when he came back to Bangladesh a few day’s back. At the end of interaction, he hoped that Bangladesh will move forward by the collective effort of us all.

But one thing is not clear to me why Tom Heinemann, took an event of 14 years back, the dispute of which settled at that time. Is it because he is a self employed journalist who thrives on so called investigative report and chose Dr.Yunus, who was at his peak of popularity , as his target to become famous in days? But it is not him to blame but it the temperament of Bangladesh people that made the news so important.

An ordinary citizen

Links: Opinion
Vilification of Grameen: Daily Star editorial
Honouring ourselves- Dr. Rehman Sobhan
Proud of Dr. Yunus-Dr.. Muhammad Ali Bhuiyan-University of North Carolina
A very dignified response-Abdul Hannan in Daily Star
Why this tirade against Professor Yunus-Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed -a Rhodes Scholar

Follow up:

A case has been filed against Dr. Yunus in a magistrate court in Myemenshigh for making comments against the politicians in 2006.

A parliamentary committee has been formed to probe into the allegations against Grameen Bank.
Dr. Yonus appeared at the magistrate court to reply to the summon.

USA requested Bangladesh to deal with respect the matters related with Dr. Yunus.

Parliamentary subcommittee has submitted 16 allegations against Dr. Yunus and Grameen 8ank.

A case has been put against dr. Yunus for adulteration in the Sakti dai. Sakti dai is a food product of Grameen Dannon a joint venture of Grameen with Dannone- a world leader in nutritional product.

South Asian Union by 2030- Yunus new vision December 11, 2009

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, POLITICS, Yunus.
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Nobel Laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus in  Hiren Mukharjee Memorial Speech in the Indian Parliament expressed his vison for a South Asian Union by the year 2030.  He drew the picture of a common flag alongside the national flag of the member countries, a common currency and a large area of common domestic and foriegn policies for the union.  The idea is the  reflection of the political and economic success of the European countries after forming the EU.

His vision of South Asian Union is his new idea after projection his idea of social business on which  he is now working in Bangladesh on a number of projects with some major companies of the world like Danone, VVeolia, Intel, Adidas, BASF and Otto. 

At this moment the idea of South Asia Union is a difficult proposition as there are multiple conflicting  issues exist among the South  Asain countries and  there are also  distrust and religious and political differences among the nations.

Still the idea of Dr. Yunus will be pondered upon in future by both public and politicians alike of this area.

An ordinary citizen

Link: Full Text of the speech

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