Muhith terms Hillary’s GB comments ‘unwarranted’
Rules out change in govt’s stance, accuses Yunus of talking gibberishStaff Correspondent
The finance minister, AMA Muhith, on Tuesday termed ‘unwarranted’ the statement of US secretary of state Hillary Clinton on the Grameen Bank.
He ruled out any possibility of changes in the government’s stand on the Grameen Bank and its Nobel laureate founder managing director Muhammad Yunus despite reported pressure from the US.
‘Establishment of a commission to determine the status of the Grameen Bank subsidiaries is a must,’ he said while talking to reporters at his secretariat office in the afternoon.
During a two-day visit to Dhaka early this week, Hillary stated that the government should not take any actions that might affect the operation of Grameen Bank.
The present government had removed Yunus from the post of the managing director of GB in March 2011 for exceeding retirement age that drew criticism from home and abroad.
Yunus was holding the chairmanship of more than 40 GB affiliated entities, including Grameen Communications, Grameen Trust, Grameen Telecom, Grameen Cybernet Ltd, Grameen Kalyan and Grameen Shakti at that time.
Establishment of a commission to determine the status of 40 plus subsidiaries of the bank is on the final stage.
‘I highly respect Mohammad Yunus and I highly respect the work that he has done and I am hoping to see it continue without being in any way undermined or affected by any government action. That would be unfortunate,’ Hillary had told an audience at a public question-and-answer session in Dhaka.
The finance minister said the statement of Hillary Clinton was her own view.
He said such statements had no logic because the government had not taken any action against the GB.
Muhith dismissed as ‘rubbish’ the allegation by
Yunus that the government was plotting to take over the bank and its subsidiaries.
At a ceremony marking 20 years of the lenders’ union, Yunus had reportedly expressed concern that the government was planning to ‘grab’ the GB and other social businesses he runs.
‘The government is taking control of the GB and its associate enterprises. We have a big challenge ahead of us,’ he told the GB staff.
A visibly angry Muhith said, ‘I am sorry to use the term ‘rubbish’, but the allegation is rubbish.’
He said the GB was owned by the government.
‘It [the bank] was established by the government,’ he said, adding that he was one of its founder-members. America and the World Bank did not provide a single penny, he said.
The finance minister said the GB was doing well without Yunus. ‘The government has not engaged in any dispute with the Grameen Bank. It is Yunus who picked up a quarrel with the bank,’ he said.
The finance minister reaffirmed the government’s stand on the GB and its sister concerns saying that the proposed commission would determine the status of its subsidiaries.
Establishment of the commission was suggested by a review committee on the GB, headed by professor AK Monaw-war Uddin Ahmad last year. Complicated relationships between the GB and its sister concerns stunned the committee members.
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