strongDhaka, Bangladesh: /strongNobel laureate Muhammad Yunus says Bangladesh's latest move to expand the power of the government-appointed chairman at the pioneering Grameen Bank he founded could hurt the millions of poor borrowers who own 97 percent of the lender.
Government spokesman Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said a proposed law change approved Thursday by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Cabinet would allow the bank's chairman to appoint its managing director. That authority is now held by the bank's board of directors, who are mostly Yunus supporters.
Yunus and the Bangladeshi government have been at odds for several years over the running of Grameen Bank, which pioneered giving small loans to the very poor. A government-appointed investigation found that Grameen Bank violated its charter as a microlender by creating affiliates that did not benefit the bank's shareholders, and recommended the government merge those businesses with the bank. Yunus maintains those businesses are independent and should remain so.
Grameen has been without a managing director since last year after the government ousted Yunus, 71, for breaching regulations that set the retirement age of officials at 60.
Yunus said in a statement that enlarged powers for Grameen's chairman will pave the way for the government to take control of the bank.
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