Shahjahan Khan’s scheduled visit to BB raises questions

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:23, Nov 14,2017 | Updated: 22:36, Nov 14,2017

 
 

A Bangladesh Bank Employees Association banner featuring an ‘opinion exchange’ meeting scheduled to be held in presence of shipping minister Shahjahan Khan today is seen in BB headquarters in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Shipping minister Shahjahan Khan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh Bank today to hold an ‘opinion exchange’ meeting with the central bank collective bargain agents (CBA) leaders on the ‘overall situation’ of the BB in an apparent bid to tighten his grip on the banking sector.
The minister’s visit, for which a number of CBA leaders will go to the central bank headquarters from different district offices and the cost of the travel would be borne by BB, has made many central bank officials and banking experts surprised.
A banner featuring the minister’s visit to the central bank has already been displayed.
The visit of Shahjahan Khan, who already has a grip on the country’s transport CBAs and months back made an attempt to enter the garment sector, comes following his recent visit to Rupali Bank headquarters in the city.
At the Rupali Bank meeting, the minister warned the bank management over the recent sacking of three top CBA leaders of the bank following manhandling of some senior officials by the CBA leaders.
BB communication department officials said that BB governor Fazle Kabir was not informed about the minister’s visit and he has not signed any permission.
CBA leaders talking to New Age claimed that they had invited the minister, who is also the chief of Bangladesh Sarak Paribahan Sramik Federation, an apex body of all road transport workers’ unions, for ‘lunch’ on the scheduled date.
CBA general secretary Md Monjurul Haq said that he had invited the minister for talking to CBA leaders regarding their internal problems and stances. He said that the invitation did not include anybody from the management of the central bank.
Former BB deputy governor Ibrahim Khaled told New Age that he was really surprised about the shipping minister’s visit as there was minister concerned, like the finance minister, who could talk about their problems.
Khaled said that he had talked to governor and the governor said that he was not even aware of the matter and that he would conduct a strict inquiry into the matter.
He said that the governor also told him that he (governor) had not signed any permission letter and that the permission of a rally only might have come from the administration office.
Former BB governor Salehuddin Ahmed expressed his surprise regarding the matter and said that he had never heard about any minister not related to the central bank visiting its headquarters to hold meeting with CBA leaders.
The central bank is a very sensitive place which should run without any interference and the government should be strict in overseeing the possibility of any untoward situation, said Ahmed.
Recently, there are some abrupt changes going on in the banking sector and Ahmed expressed his worries regarding the scheduled visit which might cause some unexpected situation.
The banking sector, especially the state-run banks, has been grappling with scams and recent surge in defaulted loans are allegedly a result of interference by board directors who are mostly appointed on political considerations by the government.

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