Nobel laureate Dr. Muhammad Yunus is learnt to be lobbying international authorities not to go for funding the construction of Bangladesh’s mega-project Padma Bridge.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith came up with such an apprehension in an interview with a New York-based Bengali newspaper.
Muhith told the Thikana: “Dr Yonus is lobbying the World Bank not to give financial aid to Bangladesh for building the Padma Bridge.”
“Many kinds of rumor went on for many days that Dr Yunus is doing such deeds. Many people asked me regarding the matter. Especially, Managing Director David Tesher of Moody’s Corporation asked me about the same issue,” the Finance Minister said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh has received aid pledges worth highest US$ 5.1 billion in fiscal 2010-2011, he said, “Suddenly, some changes have been noticed since June.”
The Finance Minister pointed out that it is happening from the time when Dr Yunus lost the post of managing director of his micro-credit institution Grameen Bank.
‘A crisis with the government is being apprehended. The government wants the Grameen progrmmes to be made state-owned,’ Dr. Yunus was quoted as saying in an interview with a newspaper, Emerging Market.
“But those are false allegations. Grameen Bank is running as per bank’s rules and regulations,” said Muhith.
The finance minister said, “Dr Yunus is very respectable person in the country and the world. All doors are open for him. We do not know what he does there or he says there. I noticed his comment in the Emerging Market and that’s why I commented this.”
In response to a query how he thinks about World Bank’s dillydallying in disbursing money for Padma Bridge, he said, “I don’t know. Is Dr. Yunus influencing the World Bank? But World Bank not saying about Dr. Yunus; it mentioned corruption about two construction firms interested to construct the Padma Bridge.”
The minister is hopeful about the funding for the Padma Bridge—one of government’s prestige projects. Regarding the issue, he said, “Allegation of corruption rose against two construction firms interested to construct the Padma Bridge. After solving the issue World Bank will disburse the pledged money.”
The Finance Minister left for the USA to join the annual general meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). He said in the interview that steps would be taken regarding the issue after returning to the country.
The minister held meeting with the Managing Director of the World Bank in New York.
It could not be confirmed till Thursday through any source whether any kind of step has been taken though one week has elapsed after return home.
I response to a query what kind of repose received from WB and IMF, he said it is not warm attitude like previous times. “I think that we need much groundwork for it because they received many allegations from Bangladesh.”
Different aspects of present condition of Grameen Bank also were discussed in the interview. The minister also said no things of Grameen have been changed.
“So, I do not think there is any ground for the propaganda saying that the government wants to capture Grameen Bank.”