Prof Yunus lays emphasis on social biz to transform people's lives
BHOJ RAJ POUDEL
KATHMANDU, Dec 22: Nobel laureate and champion of micro-finance Professor Muhammad Yunus on Friday recommended the Nepali business community and people in general to pursue social business -- a non-loss, non-dividend company designed -- to address the social needs and objectives, as government has little capacity to solve people´s problems by itself.
"And its importance in country like Nepal, which has far more difficult terrain and remote areas, needs no more explanation. People in remote areas simply cannot be served from outside. Only way to sustainably serve them is to let the people there serve themselves," said Professor Yunus.
Addressing a cozy gathering of people from different walks of lives in the capital on Friday, Yunus cited microfinance as a vital instrument to conduct social business that aim to improve livelihood of the poor.
"We need microfinance institutions (MFIs) in order to transform the lives of poor people in the world. And there is no country in the world where MFIs don´t exist," Yunus shared his almost four decades of experience in the microfinance sector in an almost 45 minutes long lecture.
"Making money is happiness, making other people happy brings super happiness," Yunus said, encouraging the Nepali corporate houses to set up social businesses in order to serve the people and society at large. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Dr Yuba Raj Khatiwada and leaders of the finance and business sectors were present.
Professor Yunus who started Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in the mid-1970s aiming to help the poor people to uplift their lives by enabling them access the finance, said eloquently, "micro-credit is a means that over the years has helped millions of people worldover to unleash their capacity."
He also made a very clear remark on difference between big banks and small MFIs. "There are big buildings of banks in the urban areas with huge amount of money. But still billions of people across the world are deprived of financial services. This is where micro-finance come into play," Yunus said.
Yunus further highlighted the importance of ensuring poor people have access to finance, saying it opens wide range of opportunities for them, unleashing their creative entrepreneural skills. Sadly, however, he noted, the rigid rules and poorly architected financial system has largely left the people deprived form getting hold of those opportunities.
"There is a straight connection between poverty reduction, employment generation and microfinance," Yunus said. "People shouldn´t be the victim of the poor system; rather the system that does not serve larger mass should be changed."
"Our aim is to relieve poor people from unbearable sufferings. We have to believe in the people and their potentialities," he said. "We in the Grameen Bank did exactly that in Bangladesh. We have been doing it since the last 4 decades."
Yunus who received Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his contribution through Grammen Bank urged all to replace the charity by social business. "Charity money has just one life. But if we invest in social business, it generates other lives and propogates further," he said with a mellowed tone.