Muhith happy to stay on as finance minister ‘if PM asks’
Abul Maal Abdul Muhith says he will be happy to stay on as finance minister if that is what Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina “wants”.
He was speaking to bdnews24.con at the Secretariat on Tuesday when he made the remark in response to a question.
The 85-year-old Awami League politician, who has presented no less than 12 budgets in his career, had talked about his desire to retire for a long time, reports bdnews24.com.
He did not contest in the recently concluded 11th national election. His brother AK Abdul Momen, a former diplomat, ran from his Sylhet-1constituency and has been elected to parliament.
The ruling Awami League, having secured absolute majority in Sunday’s polls, will form government for a third consecutive term.
Muhith’s name has been discussed for Awami League’s new cabinet. There is speculation that he might continue as finance minister for a little longer even though he is no longer in parliament.
“It all depends entirely on the prime minister. I cannot say 'no' to her if she wants this,” Muhith told bdnews24.com on Tuesday.
The former bureaucrat was chosen to head the finance ministry by Awami League chief Hasina after her party was elected to power in the 2008 election. He had served as minister for HM Ershad’s military government, passing two budgets under his regime.
Before announcing his budget plans for 2013, Muhith said he would contest in the 10th parliamentary election but did not want to continue as minister.
But Muhith helmed the finance ministry when the Awami League returned to rule for a second consecutive term after the 2014 election. In June 2018, he passed his tenth budget for an Awami League government.
He then announced that he would not be contesting in the 11th general election.
“I want to retire. I think I should retire,” Muhith had told reporters in November.
During his conversation with bdnews24.com on Tuesday, he was reminded of his previous announcements about retirement, and asked whether him staying on as finance minister will help his party to “continue its development” promises.
“This is right. The country has developed because of the continuation created by our government’s two terms in power. I believe we will witness incredible development in the next five years.”
“We will not have to wait until 2030 to eradicate poverty from our nation. We can achieve this goal by 2025.”
“So if the prime minister asks me to stay on as part of that continuation, then I’ll not be able to say 'no'. In that case, I will carry on my duties for some more time.”