Finance minister’s ill-informed remark on share market
EVEN ordinary people who have little knowledge how a capitalist economy works, let alone economists, may well have been taken aback by the comments the finance minister made in parliament on Monday about the share market, which has been in turmoil over more than a year, particularly since the share scam that literally ruined millions of individual investors in December last year. According to a New Age report on Tuesday, in response to a criticism of Rashed Khan Menon, a ruling coalition lawmaker, also president of the Workers Party, about the stock market, during discussions on the supplementary budget, the finance minister described the share market as ‘wicked’. Worse still, as he conveyed to the House, he does not feel it necessary to think about the market as it, with its ‘only 1.1 million investors’, hardly has any capacity to make any impact on the national economy.
It need not be overemphasised that, in a capitalist economic system, besides financial institutions—including banks, the capital market, popularly known as share market, plays a crucial role, especially, in providing capital for industrial units and businesses. Additionally, it functions as a link between savers and investors and thus generally induces people to resort to long-term saving. Furthermore, the capital market ensures, at least to some extent, accountability of the owners of different private enterprises enlisted with the market to the public. Overall, the share market provides an indicator on the state, strong or weak, of a capitalist economy. Unfortunately, however, the incumbent Awami League-Jatiya party government appears to have so far failed to grasp this. What is more worrisome, it has even largely failed to plug the loopholes suggested in the report prepared by the government-formed committee led by renowned banker Khondoker Ibrahim Khaled following their investigation into the above-mentioned scam, let alone bring to book the masterminds of the scam — who are allegedly tied to the ruling party — thus far. As experts concur, the ongoing share market volatility is mostly attributable to all this.
It may be pertinent to recall here that the same minister made comments on a number of occasions during the period, including one that he lacked knowledge about the share market, which triggered a huge public outcry. The finance minister needs to realise that his incapability to understand what a share market is and/or insensitivity towards the plight of millions of investors necessarily gives rise to the question how he qualifies to be at the helm of a ministry that acts as a pivot for the development of the country. He would be well-advised to immediately take proper lessons from the experts concerned or make way for someone who understands the capital market.
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