Two MPs, one from the Awami League and the other from the Workers Party, last night lambasted Finance Minister AMA Muhith for what they claimed “praising the contribution of Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus in poverty reduction through microcredit”.
AL MP Hasan Mahmud and Workers Party of Bangladesh MP Fazle Hossain Badsha while taking part on the thanks-giving motion on the president’s speech said microcredit hardly had any positive impact on poverty alleviation.
Badsha also demanded that Muhith make a statement clarifying his position on Yunus.
Terming Yunus “usurer” who “hatched a conspiracy” to stop the Padma bridge project, Badsha said, “I cannot understand how someone can praise a man like Yunus.”
“I am stunned … what reason did the minister find to praise Yunus?” Badsha said.
The finance minister was present in parliament then. He made no comments.
Hasan Mahmud in his speech said he could not agree with Muhith.
Microcredit hardly has had any role in pulling people out of poverty, he said.
“Microcredit, spread in Bangladesh after 1975, as some foreign businessmen planned to do it [execute their plan] through some locals to keep the poor people chained to poverty,” he said.
Addressing a discussion on loan management system of Social Development Foundation in the capital, Muhith on March 2 lauded Yunus for his contribution to the reduction of poverty in the country by providing microcredit to the poor.
He also credited Brac founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed for helping poverty alleviation. “They are honoured persons … we should honour them,” Muhith said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday censured Muhith for praising Yunus.
“I feel sad that the other day the finance minister extolled such a person who was behind the cancellation of the World Bank funding for my Padma bridge project. After that, I received threats from America several times,” said the PM.
The finance minister made the statement more than a month after the prime minister alleged that Yunus used his connections with former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to have World Bank block funding for the bridge.