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IPDC Ogroj: Dr Farashuddin discusses his move to banking from civil service

  • Published at 02:25 pm October 22nd, 2020

On the sixth episode of IPDC Finance Limited presents Ogroj, Dr Mohammed Farashuddin was the guest

In post-war Bangladesh, entrepreneurs would have faced a harder time realizing their dreams if not for the relentless support and encouragement of a number of stalwart personalities.  

On the sixth episode of IPDC Finance Limited presents Ogroj, Dr. Mohammed Farashuddin - one of the most recognizable names among these personalities - was the guest.

Born April 18, 1942 in Habiganj, Farashuddin lost his father at the age of 10. His mother was a guiding compass throughout his life.

Regarding his association with Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, he said: “In July or August of 1973, I joined as a deputy secretary. I joined at 9am, and he summoned me at 3pm. He started talking very formally, but very quickly became intimately familiar, using the ‘tui’ pronoun to emphasize his affection.

After starting his career as a teacher of economics at Dhaka University, he joined Pakistan Civil Service in the 60s and after independence, served as the personal secretary to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. 

Over the past 50 years, he has worked tirelessly to reduce poverty and flourish development nationwide and earned plaudits from all over the world. His blend of national and international experience helped cement an adamantine bond between local and global development agencies. 

“He was a very affectionate man. He told me that as his personal secretary, my job would be to host and accommodate all the dignitaries – foreign and domestic – but stressed that I should never overlook the poor and meek, the masses who empowered him. He was a people’s person to the core.”

Dr Farashuddin said he appreciated his good fortune to help four generations of the Sheikh family in myriad ways.

From 1998 to 2001, he served as the governor of Bangladesh Bank and carried out numerous reforms in the banking sector.

On his banking career, he said: “I was never a banker. In 1982, I joined the Ministry of Finance as deputy secretary of investments. As it happened, the deputy secretary of banking happened to be absent for six months. I was tasked to help set up Grameen Bank. I was determined to approve all sound proposals, to the dismay of several of my colleagues.”

In 1991, he retired from public service and joined the United Nations.

“In the 90s, my relationship with Sheikh Hasina was somewhat amiably discordant. We disagreed on many positions, but the respect was unshakeable. When I was serving as the chairman of Sonali Bank, Finance Minister Shah AMS Kibria, Tofail Ahmed, and my friend Razzaq proposed my name to PM Hasina as the governor of Bangladesh Bank. She was irate at the proposal, saying that I had a tendency to disagree with her all too often. But the three of them persuaded her to appoint me.”

Reminiscing his first signature on a banknote, he said that after Bangabandhu’s assassination, all notes bearing his visage had been removed from circulation. In 1998, Dr Farashuddin assigned Mahmuda Khatun, a designer on the verge of retirement, to design a banknote with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s visage.

“Finance Minister Kibria asked me to show the note to the prime minister, who was deeply moved by the homage to the Father of the Nation.”

Referring to his wife Suraiya, he said: “I must express my gratitude to her for all the happiness and tranquillity in our 55 years of marriage.”

He set up East West University in 1996 and served as vice-chancellor for several years.

IPDC Finance Ltd presents Ogroj takes place from 8pm-9pm every first and third Thursday of the month. Guests on previous episodes include Matiul Islam, Prof Rehman Sobhan, Geeteara Safiya Chowdhury, AMA Muhith, and Anis Ud Dowla.

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