We won’t let Grameen Bank snatched away: Grameen Bank Directors’ Board

Dhaka, June 24 (Priyo.com): The elected members of Board of Directors of Grameen Bank forewarned saying that none would be allowed to snatch away Grameen Bank till they are alive.

The directors came up with the forewarning in a press release after Grameen Bank Commission has recommended restructuring the bank into 19 pieces.

The news release said, “We have come to know from newspaper sources that the Grameen Bank Commission, instituted by Government, is going present its recommendations through a workshop on July 2 and seek comments from the intellectuals of the country.

Although we are elected directors of the bank representing its borrowers-shareholders who own 97% of the bank’s shares, we have not been invited to the workshop.

The reason for is perhaps that we are poor and women. But since the matter is directly related to our interest, we feel it is imperative for us to we put forward our opinion in this regard.

The commission recommends total disintegration by splitting Grameen Bank in 19 pieces. It also recommends 51% Government shares in the bank. This scheme is absolutely unacceptable to us.

It is not at all understandable to us why the bank that we have built up little by little should be handed over to Government.

The bank is running perfectly as a private organization under the current laws that govern it, and the intention to turn it into a government bank is not at all clear to us.

We all know about the huge mismanagement of the nationalized banks of the country. They are beset with innumerable problems such as irregularities in loan disbursement, political considerations in giving loans, colossal failure in loan recovery etc.

The Hallmark scam and many similar other scams have completely destroyed people’s faith in our government banking system. Efforts aimed at establishing government control over Grameen Bank have caused worry among us with good reason.

Grameen Bank is not run by government money. Government has no stake in the bank except for a 3% share in its paid-up capital. Neither does the bank use donor money.

The bank’s loan activities are financed by its borrowers’ savings, and which today amounts to about 80 billion taka. It does not require much wisdom to understand that the purpose to bring this institution under government control is to rob the poor women borrowers of the bank of their hard-earned savings.

The commission has asked Government to guarantee the savings of the bank. How can we feel that our money is safe with government while government itself is destroying the country’s banking system by borrowing billions of taka from different banks?

The Grameen Bank Commission recommends to Government to bring about some changes in the legal structure of the bank. We are not only surprised but also angry at these suggestions.

We the poor women borrowers of the bank are its actual owner. But the commission distributes the bank without any consultation with us. Grameen Bank is run with our own money.

We do not receive any money from Government (except 3% of the capital). It is our bank, it is our money, it is our wealth. Of course, Government may change rules, but it must do it with our consent. If Government thinks it can benefit us more effectively by changing or amending laws, it can do it in consultation with us.

But why should Government change the law against the interest of the owners of the bank? Everything that the commission is proposing goes against our interest. Increasing government share in the bank, increasing government control in the bank – all go against our interest. It will amount to snatching our bank from us.

We will never agree to such an initiative. Why should we? Are we not aware of the looting that is going on in government banks? Are we not aware of the robbing of billions of taka of the banks?

The money of Grameen Bank is created out of our savings. We will never allow our savings to be looted by government’s people. We have so far defended every taka of our bank from being spoiled.

Little by little we have saved money to build up this bank. Year after year we worked hard to save the money to accumulate through our weekly meetings. Why do you think we will sit idle while you hand over our bank to your people with a stroke of your pen?

Perhaps you are not aware that Grameen Bank has awakened the poor women of Bangladesh. We the poor women of the country are now fully conscious. You have not seen the power of the awakened women of Bangladesh. If you dare to snatch away our wealth, you will see our power.

You take away the wealth of 8.4 million women by striking your pen and we shed tears sitting at home – those days are gone. If you do not come to senses and retreat from your evil motive of robbing us of our money, we will come forward to confront you.

To protect our wealth we will come in thousands, in millions, to protest against your injustice. We will bring our children along with us. We will call all the women of Bangladesh. We will also call our men-folk too, our brothers and sisters. They will be with us. All the women of the world will be with us, we will call them to join us.

We ask you to step back from the wrong you are going to commit. You stay in peace and also let us live in peace. Do not molest us. We are 8.4 million women. Our families are with us.

Do not underestimate our power. We have come here to warn you. Do not push our backs against the wall. If you do so, we will have no other way open. We will never allow our beloved organization being snatched away from us.

Our bank will run by our rules--the rules under which the bank is governed now. We will not allow any changes to it--we let you know in clear terms. We will never allow the government to grab our bank in the name of changing laws. We will also not let Government’s plan succeed in breaking it up into pieces.

People of the country, people of the world are with us. We remind you that justice is on our side. Your families – your children and your wives are also with us. Do not put your hand into the hornet’s nest. It will not bring you any good. That’s for sure.”

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