BB given back authority to recruit officials of state-owned banks

Nazmul Ahsan

The government has stripped the state-owned banks of the power to recruit bank officials and instead returned the authority to a committee led by the central bank governor.
The bank and financial institutions division of the finance ministry in a notice issued last week, constituted a 17-member ‘Bankers’ Selection Committee’ headed by Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman.
The committee includes 14 managing directors and chief executive officers of the state-owned banks and financial institutions.
The decision to re-engage the BB after more than five years into abolishing the bankers’ recruitment committee, headed by the BB governor, came after the BB found gross irregularities in recruitment of new bank officials in the state-controlled banks, a senior finance ministry official said.
Through empowering the BB to oversee recruitment, the existing separate recruitment committees and interview boards of the banks concerned will be abolished automatically, he added.
Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali had hired around 30,000 new officials – both first class and second class – and another about 15,000 were recruited in six other specialised banks since early 2010 to June, this year.
The notice of BFID said the committee will undertake initiatives to recruit manpower for banks against their vacant posts after obtaining approval from the BFID of the ministry of finance. The selection committee will make a guideline for appointing freshers into the 14 state-controlled banks and financial institutions, the notice added.
The committee will comply with the rules and regulations on different quotas including those of districts, women, and underprivileged and ethnic minority groups.
The panel of selected candidates to be recruited has to be okayed by the finance ministry, the notice said further.
BB in a recent position paper submitted to the finance ministry recommended scrapping the existing hiring authorities of public sector banks as it found that undue pressures forced the banks’ authorities to compromise with the quality of fresh recruits.
‘The possibility of appointing qualified and fit candidates in public sector banks is getting slimmer day by day amid undesirable pressures piled on the banks’ authorities,’ reads the paper.
‘As compromises take place, lack of meritocracy keeps on hampering financial management and overall governance in the public sector banks,’ it observed.
Since 2010, the banks’ management bodies with the approvals from their respective boards have been recruiting employees at all levels according to recruitment rules laid down by their own banks.
Former BB governor Salehuddin Ahmed said the latest directives would not bring about any significant changes since the committee members are CEOs of public sector banks, who are appointed on political considerations.
He, however, expressed doubt over the capacity of the finance ministry to bring real changes in the recruitment system, saying, ‘The finance ministry might not be able to overcome political pressure.
It is an eyewash.’

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