JS body clears Grameen Bank Bill

Siddiqur Rahman Khan

The parliamentary standing committee on finance ministry on Wednesday finalised its recommendation for the passage of the Grameen Bank Bill that had sought enactment of a new law to bring the microcredit institution under the strong watch of the central bank.
The parliamentary watchdog assigned to scrutinise the bill, enactment of which would repeal the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983, at its meeting finalised its recommendation for the passage of the bill without any major change.
It observed that the authorities could make the Grameen Bank accountable to the central bank as the government itself was its major shareholder.
It said the microcredit institute authorities pursued the regime of HM Ershad to reduce the government share in the bank to 25 per cent from 60 per cent.
The standing committee chairman AHM Mustafa Kamal told newsmen that the Bangladesh Bank and the government had the right to know the fund circulation of the bank, established by the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983.
He also claimed that he contacted the Grameen Bank authorities soliciting their opinion on the bill but the authorities declined to participate the watchdog meeting on the plea that Muhammad Yunus, the founder of the bank, was absent.
‘Most people do not know that the government gave 60 per cent funds to set up the bank while the borrowers owned 40 per cent stake. But in 1986 Ershad government reduced its share to 25 per cent, making the borrowers share to 75 per cent,’ said Mostafa Kamal.
The finance minister AMA Muhith tabled the Grameen Bank Bill 2013 in parliament.
This bill is likely to be passed in the current session.
The draft law has proposed that the two firms will audit the Grameen Bank transactions and place it to the central bank.
Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and the government had serious disagreement over the appointment of the managing director of the bank.
The bill proposed that the government would appoint a chairman from the three government-nominated directors to the Grameen Bank management board.
In consultation with the board of management, the chairman will form select committee with three to five members, which will prepare a panel of three candidates for the post of the managing director, the chief executive of the microcredit institution having 8.3 million borrowers, the bill proposed.
The central bank is the authority for the appointment of the managing director who must have knowledge on rural economics, economics or micro-finance. The managing director will be a full-timer and serve up to 60 years of age.
The bill says that the government can issue any order to resolve any inconvenience that comes to the fore for the execution of the proposed Grameen Bank Act.

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