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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

Hillary on Yunus and reaction of Muhith May 10, 2012

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, POLITICS.
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Hillary on her visit expressed her respect for Dr. Mohammad Yunus in a congregation of youth on 5th May 2012 and expressed concern for any government interfere in the activities of Grameen.

AMA Muhit, Finance Minister of Government of Bangladesh in a reaction said that the comment of Hillary on Grameen Bank is unwarranted. He told that Grameen Bank is a Government establishment and Government, not this government but a Bangladesh government founded this bank decades ago and he is one of the founders of bank. Government contributed to the growth of Grameen not the foreign powers.

He expressed that what Dr. Yunus is telling about Grameen is totally rubbish that Grameen Bank is at stake. He asked to see last one year under government and said that the bank ran smoothly during the period.

An ordinary citizen

News in print:
US sides with Grameen Bank-Daily Star
Hillary’s remark on Grameen bank undue-Daily Star

Debate continues

News: Asharaf, Acting General Secretary of ruling AL ‘Sniffs at Yunus
Minister’s comment draws flaks
We are in a fools’ paradise

Dr. Yunus was proposed for World Bank President but he refused March 23, 2012

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, PERSONALITY, Yunus.
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Bangladesh Prime Minister Sk. Hasina proposes Dr. Yunus name for the the post of World president in a meeting with the envoy of EU. The proposal caught everybody off guard as nobody thought of Hasina would propose Dr. Yunus for the post.
So far Sk. Hasina kept no stone upturned to malign the image of Dr. Yunus in a serices of acts. The last action of her was removal of Dr. Yunus from the post of Chairman of Grameen Bank after 30 years of service to the bank that he had founded.
Dr. Yunus took the proposal as the change of heart of the Prime Minister.
But he refused to be president of the World Bank, rather he is more concern with the state of the Grameen Bank and wants to serve Grameen Bank longer period.
Will Prime Minister pay hid to the intention of Dr. Yunus ?

Options Left for Dr. Yunus May 11, 2011

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Verdict of supreme court has been given and as was predicted it was gone against Dr. Yunus and Board of Directors of Grameen.

Grameen has tried it’s best to mainatin it’s integrity and appeal to the high court against the order of Bangladesh Bank. High Court rejected it’s appeal. Then they appeal at the Supreme Court. Supreme Court also refused to consider their appeal. They appeal for review of the judgment again in the highest court. The lawyers are best of the country. They placed their arguments eloquently but neither the eloquency, nor the logic could change the determination of the judges.

Now, Dr. Yunus will have to leave the post that he was holding for 30 years. In a letter Yunus expressed that he is waiting for the decision of the Board of Directors. According to the Grameen Bank Ordinance,1983 it is the BoDs to decide the next managing director and to place to BB to approve it. It is not the other way round that BB will appoint MD and BoD will approve it. If government does not like to play in the mud, it should leave Grameen Bank to work by its own rule.
There is little chance that Government will nominate Dr. Yunus as the Chairman of Grameen Bank.

Then what is left for Dr.Yunus to do. His legal fight may not yet over. Governmnet may next take steps to incorporate the social enterprizes with Grameen Bank. There are about 44 ‘social business’ companies where Dr. Yunus is working as chairman or director in most of them. As these businesses are associated with different international companies, such as Danone, Adidas, Intel etc, any government attempt will not go unchallenged.

One option for Yunus is to look after the social business companies he has established. His second option is to be appointed as chief executive in an international body that is looking after the poverty alliviation program. UN may think to open an Special Commission to be headed by Dr. Muhammad Yunus that will look after provery alliviation program of different countries including Bangladesh.

The last option for Yunus is to enter into politics. He could only join politics if a social environment is created in Bangladesh to accomodate a person like him in our politics like ELBaradei in Egypt. ElBaradei is also a Nobel laureate.

An ordinary citizen

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

Obama confers Presidential Medal of Freedom on Dr. Muhammad Yunus August 14, 2009

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, Yunus.
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Obama  YunusDr. Muhammad Yunus has been conferred highest civilian honour of USA by President Obama in a marked ceremony held at White House on 12th August 2009. The Presidential Medal of Freedom was also bestowed upon 16 others citizens of the world who includes Archbishob of South Africa Desmond Tutu, leading British Scientist Stephen Hawkins and former Iris President Mary Robinson.The medal is given for “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

President Obama lauded the contribution of Muhammad Yunus in alliviating the poverty from the world saying, ” Muhammad Yunus was just trying to help a village, but some how manage to change the world”.

In reaction in an interview Muhammad Yunus said that it is not a personal achievemnt of him, rather it’s an honour and an achievment of Bangladesh. He said that it proves Bangladesh can also do something good to the world. Microcredit which he started from a village in Bangladesh while he was a Professor of Economics in the university has now spread all over the world and virtually all the countries of the world are practicing microcredit now including the developed countries like USA, Canada and French.

It is also sad to say that when the world is recognising his contribution, some people in Bangladesh is trying to deny the impact of microcredit on the economy in Bangladesh.They say that microcredit is not enough to eradicate the poverty from the society.[DS] It’s true, microcredit alone is not enough to change the society, but in their deliberation there is a hint of denial of the impact of microcredit on the poverty in our country. This tendency of denial was also present in the past.[DS]

Dr. Yunus explained in the interview that the present banking system support the people from the upper layer of the society and it is arrested in the middle and can’t reach the people at the bottom. On the contrary, it is the microcredit which support people from the bottom of the society who have no money, no collaterals and no recommendation.

Regarding high interest rates of microcredit, he said that Grameen has 4 types of loan- one has 20% interest, the house loan has 8.5% interest, student loan has 5% which also count after the completion of the study and loan for beggers has no interest. Nearly 150000 beggers are enjoying this loan. Dr Yunus said that Grameen ensures the 100% education of the children of its clients, many of them could complete the intermediate level and enter into the universities and medical colleges becoming doctors, engineers and Ph D holders. Grameen provides scholarship to persue higher education in the foreigh countries like USA, Canada. he added that very recently 6 students had gone to Malayasia on higher studies.

On forced extraction of loan repayment system, he told that Grameen is established to ease the suffering of poor people, not to extract money in their distress. During ‘Aila’, the latest cyclone which inundated huge area along the sea belt, Grameen not only suspended the loan collection and also support the suffering people by supplying pure water and food and supporting in their rehabilatation.

On the question of increasing gap between the poor and the rich in Bangladesh as predicted by World Bank and few experts he said that statistics say that from 1990 onwards poverty decreases by 1% per year till 2000, then it decreses by 2% till 2005. The stats beyond that is yet not available. But if it continues in the same rate, we can decrease the poverty to 50% by 2015. He hoped that if it is possible to decrease the poverty by half in 2015, it is not impossible to eradicate poverty from Bangladesh by 2030.[Courtesy:NTV]

In the post ceremial reception of the award winners, Dr. Yunus requested Obama and Mitchel to visit Bangladesh which they agreed to accomplish as the time permits.

Bangladesh feel proud as a nation when Yunus got the Nobel Prive for peace in 2006. Bangladesh is again feeling proud for what Yunus has achievd fof him and for Bangladesh.

An ordinary citizen