Abul Maal Abdul Muhith

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Abul Maal Abdul Muhith
আবুল মাল আব্দুল মুহিত
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith.jpg
Minister of Finance
In office
6 January 2009 – 7 January 2019
Prime MinisterSheikh Hasina
Preceded byMirza Azizul Islam (Acting)
Succeeded byMustafa Kamal
Personal details
Born (1934-01-25) 25 January 1934 (age 85)
Sylhet, Assam Province, British India
NationalityBangladeshi
Political partyBangladesh Awami League
Alma materSylhet Government Pilot High School
Murari Chand College
University of Dhaka
Harvard University[1]
Signature

Abul Maal Abdul Muhith (born 25 January 1934)[2] is an economist, diplomat, and a Bengali Language Movement veteran from Bangladesh. He was the country's Finance Minister since January 2009 till December 2018.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Sylhet, Muhith passed the matriculation exam from Sylhet Government Pilot High School in 1949.[citation needed] He secured first place in his Intermediate examination in 1951 from Sylhet MC College. He stood first class first in B.A. (Hons.) in English Literature in 1953 from University of Dhaka and passed his Masters with credit from the same university in 1955. While in service to the government, he studied at Oxford University in 1957–1958.[4] He completed a Master of Public Administration at Harvard University in 1964.[5]

Early career[edit]

Muhith served as the general secretary of the central committee of the Pakistan Civil Service Association during 1960–1969. He joined the Pakistan Embassy in the United States as an Economic Counselor in 1969. In 1966, he was honoured with the Tamgha e Khidmat award by the Pakistan government. During his service as the Chief and Deputy Secretary of Pakistan Planning Commission, he made a report on the discrimination between East and West Pakistan and that was the first submitted report on that issue in Pakistan National Congress. He was the first diplomat of Washington Embassy who showed his consent in favour of Bangladesh giving up the side of Pakistan during the Independence War of 1971. He was appointed as the Secretary of Planning in 1972 and Secretary of the External Resource Department of Finance and Planning Ministry in 1977.

Retirement and return[edit]

Muhith went for self-retirement in 1981 from his service and then he started his second innings of his career as the specialist of economics and development in Ford Foundation and in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He became Finance and Planning Minister in 1982–83. Next, he worked as the specialist of different institutions of World Bank and the United Nations. He has been a recognised figure in the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, IDB and in different organisations of United Nations. He was the Visiting Fellow of Princeton University in 1984 and 1985.

He took oath as the Finance Minister of Bangladesh government on 6 January 2009 and in August 2009 he was inaugurated the building of the Benapole Customs and Immigration Check Post.[6]

He retired from Government and from his role as Member of Parliament for Sylhet-1 constituency at the Elections of December 2018. His younger brother AK Abdul Momen succeeded him as MP.

Works[edit]

  • Bangladesh, emergence of a nation (1978)
  • Thoughts on development administration (1981)
  • American response to Bangladesh liberation war (1996)
  • Bangladesh in the twenty-first century : towards an industrial society (1999)
  • Issues of governance in Bangladesh (2001)
  • State language movement in East Bengal, 1947-1956 (2006)
  • History of Bangladesh : A Subcontinental Civilisation (2016)[7]

Criticism[edit]

Muhith had faced criticism for his handling of the 2011 share market crash.[8][9] He admitted to his mistakes in decisions related to the stock market in addition to the mistakes of the Security and Exchange Commission.[10] Although the opposition leaders and protesting investors had called for his resignation, he refused and defended his position.[9] He had appointed a probe committee to investigate the allegations against the Security Exchange Commission, however this also attracted criticism towards him as he consequently refused to publicly disclose the names of those accused of chicanery by this committee. Muhith became the center of a criticism after he had commented on the Hallmark money scam that the Tk 4,000 crore embezzled was a "meager amount". He later apologized for his statement.[11] Muhith had been criticised for consistently insulting Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus and terming his comments as "totally rubbish" and also for saying Yunus has no integrity over the Grameen Bank issue.[12] In September 2015, Muhith faced widespread criticisms for his remarks against the movement of public university teachers of Bangladesh seeking for a separate pay scale. He later apologized for his remarks. At the same time, controversy was caused by VAT being imposed on the Bangladeshi private university education system:[13] Muhith defended this decision.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Muhith wants to retire". Dhaka Tribune. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  2. ^ "Muhith responds to Badruddoza's remarks, says retirement is a better option for 'us'". bdnews24.com. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  3. ^ মন্ত্রিগণের জীবনবৃত্তান্ত [Cabinet Biographies]. Press Information Department, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (in Bengali). 12 March 2015. Archived from the original on 13 March 2015. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Muhith's life entwined with Bangladesh". The Daily Star.
  5. ^ "A Brief Lifesketch of Finance Minister". Ministry of Finance, Government of The People's Republic of Bangladesh. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011.
  6. ^ Padmanabhan, Mohan (10 August 2009). "Petrapole, Benapole Customs points to get facelift soon". The Financial Express. Dhaka. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2009.
  7. ^ Alam, Shahid (19 September 2016). "Quest for knowing and understanding Bangladesh". The Daily Star. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Muhith must resign for stock crash". The Daily Star. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  9. ^ a b "I won't resign: Muhith". bdnews24.com. 20 June 2011. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Stock crash: Muhith admits mistakes". The Independent Bangladesh. 22 January 2011. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  11. ^ Juberee, Abdullah (7 September 2012). "Hallmark remarks Muhith offers apology". New Age. Archived from the original on 16 November 2012.
  12. ^ "Muhith terms Yunus's remarks totally rubbish". banglanews24.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Private university students in Dhaka protest VAT on tuition fees". bdnews24.com.
  14. ^ "Universities, not students to pay VAT: Muhith". The Daily Star. 10 September 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
Political offices
Preceded by
Mirza Azizul Islam
Acting
Minister of Finance
2009–2019
Succeeded by
Mustafa Kamal