I was very happy about Yunus getting Nobel Peace prize. Out of the blue, I got the following mail today. I will publish parts of it in undistorted form. If you don’t have time to read the whole article, read the highlighted portion only. This may or may not be true. I didn’t verify.
“Do you know in most cases it is the husband / father/ elder brother who controls the Grameen loan taken in the name of his wife/daughter/ sister? Do you know the bank charges around 30% interest? Do you know that Grameen borrowers lend the borrowed money at 80% to 100% interest to fellow villagers? Do you know any other business where someone can still make a living by borrowing at 30% interest rate? Do you know in some villages (especially in Sylhet) men take three/four wives to get Grameen loan to run their lucrative money lending business? Do you know that the poorest of thepoor (as touted by Yunus, Clintons and others) are not eligible to Grameen loan as they cannot repay their loans in 52 instalments at 30% interest? Do you know that only middle peasants (having some lands or assets) are eligible to the credit?”
“Why do you think Monsanto, the giant US corporation, engaged in marketing genetically modified seeds (disastrous in the long run as peansants will have to buy the seeds before every sowing season) is a big promoter of microcredit? Why does Grameen Bank pay NO income tax to Bangladesh? Why did Grameen Phone ( a joint Bangladesh-Norway cell phone company) pay anyincome tax till this year? This is the largest cellphone company in Bangladesh, charging for localincoming calls as well. Is there a link between thisaward and Grameen Phone’s (Dr Yunus’s cell phone company) partnership with the Norweigian telephone company, Nortel? Do you know that the Nortel has been siphoning off millions of dollars to Norway withoutpaying any income tax to Bangladesh? And all of thismoney laundering is done in the name of charity? What a shame, what a disgrace! “
“If micro-credit could alleviate poverty, why on earth hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshis are going to Dubai, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or Singapore, borrowing hundreds of thousands of takas (two lakh per head on the average) to work as menials? If borrowing fifty or sixty dollars could alleviate poverty, why are theydoing so? Are they stupids?”
Honestly, I didn’t expect such an e-mail. But again, I don’t know how true this is. Or maybe just generalization?