Female directors vow to stop GB law
Asif Showkat Kallol

They announced protest programmes on November 3 at all offices of the Grameen Bank across the country against the new law

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    Photo- Wikimedia

A female board member of Grameen Bank once again warned that the bank’s borrowers, the 8.4 million poor women, would “show their power” and arrange a grand rally in Dhaka if the government enacted the new Grameen Bank law.

The bank’s staff also expressed their fear that after enacting the new law, politics would enter the bank management, and that depositors and borrowers were panicked.

They announced protest programmes on November 3 at all offices of the Grameen Bank across the country against the new law.

The warning fear came at two press conferences at the Grameen Bank headquarters in the capital on Thursday by Grameen Bank’s elected Board Member Tahsina Khatun, acting managing director M Shajahan. Khatun and the bank’s Karmachari Samiti (workers’ association) President M Samsul Alam read out statements at the press conference.

The two conferences were organised by the Grameen Bank Karmachari Samiti and the nine elected directors of the bank.

The parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry on Wednesday recommended passage of the law without any major change. Subsequently the Grameen Bank Bill 2013 is likely to be passed within the next week at parliament.

Tahsina Khatun had given a similar statement at the National Press Club three months ago, saying the women members of the bank would be called for a grand rally in Dhaka if the government passed the Grameen Bank law in parliament.

She also said the government wanted to carry out its agenda by calling a board meeting of the bank during the national election after dismissing the nine elected board members.

The government would appoint a new board of directors every three years according to the new draft law, and the existing board of directors would hold their posts until the new board is appointed, she said.

Tahsina Khatun said the finance division had prepared the new election process to make it “politics-oriented” and to ruin the Grameen Bank management. The directors of the bank would be selected by the government in the new law and deprive the 8.4 women borrowers of their election rights, she also said.

“The director of Grameen Bank would be accused for wrongdoing in the new law instead of indemnity of matter in the existing ordinance,” she said.

The bank’s acting managing director M Shajahan said, “We fear that there will be panic among borrowers and depositors if the government enacts the new law.”

“Depositors have a total of Tk140bn in Grameen Bank while borrowers owe Tk88bn,” he said.

In a written statement M Samsul Alam said the government wanted to grab the Grameen Bank by “flexing its muscles.”

“We do not give consent to that because we know what has happened with the biggest state-owned bank Sonali Bank and the Hall-mark scam and other state owned commercial banks,” he said.

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