March 4, 2017 - 5:10pm
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on Saturday criticised her cabinet member AMA Muhith for praising the role of microcredit and Grameen Bank founder Muhammad Yunus in eradicating the country's poverty.
‘A couple of days back, our finance minister highly praised microcredit and said poverty eradication has been done successfully due to microcredit. If poverty has been reduced for him (Yunus) then why the poverty rate was 60 per cent and reduced to 22 per cent now,’ she said.
The prime minister was speaking at the national council of Bangladesh Mahila Awami League at Krishibid Institution, Bangladesh. She said, ‘I’ll request the honorable finance minister to take the statistics during which regime poverty has been reduced.
This is, of course, during the Awami League regime. It came down due to steps taken by the AL government where the finance minister was involved.’ During the 1996-2001 rule, the prime minister said, then finance minister SAMS Kibria was involved. ‘As a result, the poverty has reduced.’ During the BNP’s rule and caretaker governments the poverty reduction pace got stalled, she said adding that as it was nourished through microcredit while the microcredit lenders accumulated wealth. Hasina said the hard-earned money of the rural women is used for repaying the high interest rate of the microcredit.
‘They live from hand to mouth, but cannot come out from the poverty, and those who do the microcredit business don’t want poor people to come out of poverty cycle as it’ll stop their business.’ She said the main aim of her government is to remove poverty from the country. ‘It’s a matter of regret that he (finance minister Muhith) praised such a man who stopped the World Bank from financing the Padma Bridge project… I had been threatened repeatedly by the USA. But he highly appreciated that person,’
Hasina said. The prime minister said she is there in politics to improve the fate of the country’s common people, not to do business with them. Earlier on March 2, finance minister AMA Muhith praised Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus and BRAC founder Fazle Hasan Abed for their pioneering efforts to eradicate poverty from the country. ‘They (Yunus and Abed) are revered personalities. We should respect them,’ he said while speaking at a function titled 'Modernisation of Loan Management System' at LGED auditorium in Agargaon. Muhith said the initiatives of Yunus and Sir Abed started on a very small scale but over the years they transformed those initiatives into institutions. ‘I think these two projects [Grameen Bank and BRAC] exhibited the country's success in poverty alleviation,’ Muhith said adding that they have helped people thrive on their hidden talents.