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Dr.Yunus’ ‘removal’: exploring the reasons March 5, 2011

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Government of Bangladesh is trying to remove Dr. Yunus from the post of managing director of Grameen Bank that he developed on his own pioneering idea of micro-financing to the poor and empowering the women for the last 30 years. As per a 1983 ordinance Government holds 25% statutory stake now with less than 5% of the contribution of the bank.

The Government found him more than 60 years of age, an age limit set for the employees of the Grameen Bank but not for its MD. Th other fault is not taking prior approval of Bangladesh bank before his appointment as MD, though the Board of Directors, the appointing Authority of this bank, duly appointed him.

Then where does lie the fault? The ordinary citizen can only speculate 4 possibilities to explain the situation:

1) This Government may consider him as a threat to it’s ambition to stay in power for an indefinite period. Dr. Yunus has shown his political interest in 2007 floating a political party, though shortly afterwords he had withdrawn himself from the venture. He was also approched by the sponsors of the last care taker government to hold the post of Chief Adviser though he refused, but had suggested the name of Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, a fellow economist who ran the caretaker government for long 2 years that successfully organized last national election of 2008 with the participation of all political parties. Dr. Yunus had his full blessing for the caretaker government.

2) Government may be thinking of taking control of Grameen Bank that has more than 8 million clients, has disbursed more than 16000 crore of money in the last year, has more than 20 commercial enterprises with renowned international companies like danone, Adidas, Viola.

3) May be the whole matter is personal. As Dr. Jafar Iqbal said in one of his recent articles that at one time Bangladesh was known to the world by the name of Bangabandhu Sk. Mujbur Rahman but Bangladesh is now known to the outside world by the name of Dr. Yunus and his activities. It may be difficult for someone in the center of the state to digest the matter.

4) Or there may be no apparent reason as Finance Minister MA Muhith said, there was no way out except to remove Dr. Yunus from Grameen Bank.

An ordinary citizen

Dr.Yunus, controversies & comments December 16, 2010

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

What prompted Rahul Gandhi to visit Bangladesh? August 7, 2008

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Rahul Gandhi, Member of the Indian Parliament and son of Sonia Gandhi/Rajib Gandhi had completed his 5 days visit to Bangladesh from 1st August to 5th August 2008. Rahul is also one of the General Secretaries of the Indian Congress. He was received at ZIA by Dr. Muhammad Yunus and other officials from BRAC and Grameen Bank.

During his 5 days’ visit, he toured through different projects of BRAC and Grameen, had talked with Fazle Hussain Abed, founder of BRAC and Profesor Yunus and met with workers and beneficieries of these two corporate NGOs.

He was introduced to Dr. Yunus by his mother at a funcion in Delhi last year. He was interested in microfinance and women empowerment since then and initiated microfinance activitiees in his own constituencies-Amethi.

Though India is progressing economically, but the plight of the poor did not improve in parallel. The percentage of population below the poverty line is more than that of Bangladesh.

But to know the microfinance activity was not likely the prime motive of Rahul.

Rahul in addition to visit the BRAC and Grameen, had a meeting with the leaders of CPD- Centre for policy dialouge where Rehman Sobhan, Dr. Mustafizur rahman and others were present. It is reported that ediitors of some leading dailies were also present in the meeting. Many assume that these are the people who give policy support to the present care taker government. Interestingly, Dr. Muhammad Yunus is the chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Center for Policy Dialogue.(Daily Purbakon)

Rahul Gndhi might had the intention to know the present polical and economic sitution of the country. Then who would be able to give him better understanding of the situation than the elite members of CPD.
CPD members were also present in the private banquet thrown by Dr. Yunus in honour of Rahul Gandhi.

Interestingly Rahul didn’t met with any state dignitaries of any status.

Will Rahul’s visit give him a better understanding of the socio-political condition of Bangladesh? Will the visit help to bridge the mental gap between India and Bangladesh?

An ordinary citizen

Posst Script:

Mohammad Badrul Ahsan in CROSS TALK in Daily Star discusses his thinking on the Rahul’s visit and Bangladesh politics[DS]

Venture of Grameen in America- Grameen America May 1, 2008

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, ECONOMY, NGO, People, Yunus.
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Grameen Ammerica –Grameen’s first micro-finance operation in New York opens recently. Dr. Yunus inaugurates the first branch at Jackson Heights formally though the branch started to work since January 2008.

Grameen America will work as an independent microfinance organization and will not depend on Grameen for its operation though the operational methods will be that of Grameen.

The target population of GA is initially the low income groups of New York City that includes Bangladeshis and Hispanics. Both the groups, more the Hispanics already showed their interest in the microfinance operation. So far 200 families have taken loans from the bank.


Dr. Yunus wins again July 3, 2007

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, PERSONALITY, Yunus.
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1 comment so far

dr-yunus.jpgDr Yunus has been chosen  as one of the best Social Entrepreneurs of the world of all times. This selection was made and published in the Business Week on the last 27th June 2007.

Business Week said that Dr. Yunus started his banking system by giving small loans to the village poor. Most of these loans are given to the women folk of the village. These women invest their money in different small agricultural and handicraft enterprises.

It continues that Grameen Bank which  was established by Dr. Yunus now has 2422  branches. From its inception it has given more than 600 crore dollars as loan to the poor. Loan holders are also the main shareholders of the Bank. Grameen Bank became profitable within 3 years of it’s stablishments.

Other great entrepreneurs who are in the list include  Bejamin Franklin(1706-1790), John D Rokfeller(1857-1945), Tomas Adison (1847-1901), Henry Ford (1863-1947), Azim Premji (1945), Oprah Winfrey(1954).

If, now retrospectively, we see how our leaders evaluated him, it will embarrass us, if not them. They tried to knock him out by malicious propaganda and false accusations because of the interest he had shown to come to politics.

He has not only withdrawn himself from politics but  also withdrawn himself from the media and society also.

He had shown his good gesture to change the face of our politics and the fate of our country but we cound’t accept that.

A few days back, he had his 68th birthday passed in a very simple way  in Dhaka.

Still then, he will be remembered as the first Nobel Laureate of Bangladesh and one the greatest  Social Enterpreneurs of all times. 

He will remain as a symbol of dedication, simplicity and greatness for the generations to come of our country and of the world.