Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus on Friday said that Grameen Bank was an institution of the people and they would protect it at any cost.
He said that the people would foil any attempts to destroy the Grameen Bank, acclaimed worldwide as a pioneer in micro-credit programmes for poor people.
‘It is a pro-people bank and so the people of the country will protect it no matter what the government intends to do,’ Yunus, also the founding managing director of Grameen Bank, told reporters at a function marking the ‘4th Social Business Day 2013’ in the city.
He expressed concern over the government’s move to make changes to the bank’s management system.
Yunus, who was relieved of the post of Grameen Bank managing director by a Bangladesh Bank directive in 2011 on the ground that he had crossed the age of 60, said that the government-formed commission had made some ‘crazy’ recommendations that included splitting the institution into 19 entities.
Presenting the nine women directors of GB on the
stage, Yunus said each of them represented 10 million borrowers.
‘These women are taking the lead…The borrowers are the owners of the bank. No one can snatch it from them,’ he said adding that international community would stand by them to protect the Grameen Bank.
Organised by Yunus Centre in Dhaka, the celebration also coincided the 73rd anniversary of birth of Yunus, the country’s first Nobel Prize winner.
Corporate and social leaders, entrepreneurs and students from home and abroad attended the conference. Over 150 guests from 30 countries, including the first Nepalese billionaire, Binod K Chaudhury, attended the conference.
Addressing the opening session, US ambassador Dan W Mozena spoke highly of professor Yunus for his idea of social business which, he said, offered the poor a chance to invest and contribute to the economic development of a country. He termed Yunus a ‘great dreamer’.
About finance minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith’s recent remarks describing him as ‘a real politician,’ Yunus said it was not clear to him whether Muhith had praised or insulted him.
Muhith told parliament on Wednesday that Yunus had been engaged in a smear campaign against the government for over three years and acted as a ‘real politician’ by attempting to mount pressure on the government by asking the women directors of GB to hold a press conference.
Nine women directors of the GB held a press conference in the city on Monday protesting at the government plan to break up the institution into 19 entities. They also called upon the government to step back from the ‘suicidal decision.’
Set up in 1983, the Grameen Bank in 2006 won the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with its founding managing director Muhammad Yunus.
The Awami League-led government has taken a series of steps targeting the bank drawing criticism from home and abroad.
Asked for comments on Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s statement defending the GB’s cause, Yunus said he welcomed the main opposition’s statement that the party would reinstate the bank to its previous position if it was voted to power.
The Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983 now governs the micro-credit organisation having 84 lakh borrowers in rural areas of the country.
Yunus said his idea of social business, that was to resolve social problems through business, was gaining popularity in Europe and Africa besides Asia as the countries in those continents were also facing unemployment problems.
Source: New Age