Say govt actions will make its owners powerless
More women professionals and leaders have raised their voices against a government move to amend the Grameen Bank Ordinance of 1983, and thereby curb the autonomy of the Nobel-winning microlender.
Forty-six women yesterday issued a statement under the banner of Friends of Grameen, condemning the proposed changes to the ordinance. The number of protesters has now risen to 104.
The amendment will enable the government-appointed chairman of the bank to choose its managing director, sidelining other members of the GB board, reads the statement.
This is a de facto imposition of government control on the microlender, through which poor women, who are the owners of the bank, will be made powerless, they said.
“This must be stopped at the earliest time,” the statement says.
On August 2, the cabinet approved proposals to bring changes into the ordinance that governs the activities of the microlender.
“Through this amendment, the government aims to deny the owners of Grameen Bank their right to have a say in the management of their bank,” the group said in the statement.
The power to appoint the managing director of any bank lies with its board of directors. But in the case of Grameen Bank, the government is trying to vest power in the chairman, who is always appointed by the government. Through this move the chairman will be allowed to make undemocratic decisions by overriding the majority of the board members who are women, according to the statement.
The managing director post fell vacant after Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus was forced to step down by the central bank in May last year.
The group urged all conscientious citizens to call upon the government to reverse its plan of taking over the bank, thereby jeopardising its future and depriving the majority of GB board members of their role in decision making.
The signatories of the statement are Sarah Abedin, Prof Fahmina Ahmed, Samia Ahmed, Asma Alam, Anusheh Anadil, Prof Firdous Azim, Dr Dil Afroz Begum Choby, Prof Daria Noor Begum, Jeenat Ara Bhuiyan, Dr Dilara Chowdhury, Fahima Chowdhury, Geeteeara Safiya Chowdhury, Luva Nahid Chowdhury, Naila Chowdhury, Ruby Ghuznavi, Angela Gomes, Prof Yasmin Haque, Lopita Huq, Dr Samia Huq, Taheerah Huq, Prof Jahanara Huq, Dr Humaira Islam, Dr Mahmuda Islam, Dr Rounaq Jahan, Roushan Jahan, Sonia Bashir Kabir, Dr Nusrat Jahan Kajal, Prof Naila Zaman Khan, Ayesha Khanam, Prof Rashida Khanam, Munize Manzur, Lubna Marium, Nasreen Awal Mintoo, Hasna Moudud, Wasfia Nazreen, Zeenat Afroz Rahim, Prof Joushan Ara Rahman, Raushanara Rahman, Taleya Rehman, Seema Asif Reza, Farhana Reza, Durreen Shahnaz, Sadaf Saaz Siddiqi, Shahana Siddiqui, Begum Quamrun Nahar Zafar and Sara Zaker.
-With The Daily Star input