JP demands Muhith’s resignation in Parliament

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Dhaka, June 20: Terming Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith as an aged man, Jatiya Party’s Ziauddin Ahmed Bablu MP has demanded his resignation.

Bablu urged the finance minister to “free the country’s 16 crore people resigning from parliament” after taking part in a general discussion on the proposed national budget of 2017-2018 on Tuesday.

The Jatiya Party MP came down heavily on the finance minister for keeping allocation in the proposed budget for reconstituting the capitals of the state-run banks, calling it ‘immoral’.

Bablu said the finance minister has grown old. “He is a well-respected person. He should resign right now. Please free 16 crore people by bidding farewell.”

About the allocation of Tk 2,000 crore as capital of the state-owned banks, Bablu said, “This is in no way ethical. It’s immoral. How does he make a proposal that goes against ethics and law? He can in no way make such a proposal. He could have allocated this fund for education, health, or any other sector.”

He asked the finance minister why he will give the banks as much as Tk 2,000 crore to reconstitute the capitals of the state-run banks. “You gave them such money even last year.”

The Jatiya Party MP, which has three members in the Sheikh Hasina-led cabinet, said the finance minister has no right to allocate money for such a purpose.

“The Finance Minister has no right to provide the looted money with the taxpayers’ money and for this he [Muhith] should be brought to justice. The finance minister must stand in the dock. Criminal charges should be brought against him.”

Raising allegations of looting in the banks, Bablu said the banks have been “kept alive with oxygen”.

“The banks have been pushed on the verge of ruination. The amount of defaulted loans has stood at Tk 1.16 thousand crore. The banks are going bankrupt. Again, loans have been written off,” he said.

The MP asked the finance minister whose money he is writing off. “People’s money is being plundered, and siphoned out of the country whereas the finance minister did not say anything else in this regard.”

Bablu said there would have been no need for increasing VAT rate if the defaulted loans were realised.

“Who are looting? Are they more powerful than you [finance minister], than the government? Why will you not bring them under the law? The Basic Bank chairman is still roaming freely. ACC claims it has found nothing against him.”

Shedding light on the gloomy picture in different financial institutions and agencies, the MP said all the state-run banks – Sonali, Rupali, and Janata – are in dire straits.

“The stock market has been looted, but no action has been taken.”

The MP also demanded withdrawal of proposed increase of excise duty on bank deposits. “The additional excise duty on bank deposits is giving wrong message.”

Bablu also criticised the price hike of rice and said the price of coarse rice has increased by as much as 47 per cent in a single year.

“People live in a suffocating situation. They can’t purchase rice.”

Ziauddin Bablu said the GDP growth rate is not the only yardstick of development and alleged that the finance minister, AMA Muhith, is misguiding people with falsehoods.

He also said the people will not be able to reap the benefits of development if there is no good governance in the country.