In 1973, the First Five Year Plan was formulated under the guidance of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The Plan aimed to create and sustain a framework wherein people of the country could prosper in freedom, basic needs of common people could be met, and every one could cherish the ideals and values of a free society. After his assassination in 1975, the power that became took the country away from the course set by Bangabandhu, functionally abandoned the framework of Five Year Plans and served the vested interests that they were. As the Fifth Plan could not be prepared by the government of the time following the closure of the Fourth on June 30, 1995, the two years till June '97 have been a sort of plan holiday period for the country. In these years, as was done often after 1975, the annual development programmes of the country were prepared and implemented outside the frame of a Five Year Plan, not fully meeting the requirement of making the most of scarce resources.

In this backdrop, in the light of the constitutional mandate to develop the country in a planned way, in conformity with the commitment made by the Awami League to the people at the time of '96 election and on the strength of the successful implementation of the annual development programmes for 1996/97 by my government, the Fifth Five Year Plan has been prepared. Following completion of the draft in July 1997, views of public leaders, academicians, practitioners, business leaders, development partners and NGOs were sought and considered while giving shape to the final form as was approved by the National Economic Council on March 4, 1998. In this final form the Plan reflects hopes and aspirations of the people. The Plan proposes to raise the average growth rate to 7 per cent, domestic savings to about 12 per cent and investment to about 22 per cent of GDP. To yield this growth, in 5 years from 1997 through 2002, a total investment outlay of about Tk. 1960 billion will be pressed in. Of this, 56 per cent is projected to be accounted for by the private sector and the rest by the government and the relevant parastatals. The Plan follows a structured yet very flexible framework. The structured framework will ensure recursive strengthening of development policies and goals. The flexibility inherent in the Plan will allow effective and quick reallocation of inputs to maximise economic development warranted by changes in the political, social and economic environment within and outside the country.

The main objective of the Fifth Five Year Plan is to ensure the provision of basic needs to every citizen, providing new employment opportunities and building proper infrastructure to facilitate increased production primarily by the private enterprise. Poverty alleviation through area development and microcredit programmes, building up local government institutions, development of human capital, promotion of literacy, universalisation of primary education, lowering population growth and achieving self-sufficiency in food production are some of the building blocks of the Plan designed to protect and further the interests of the common people.

My government, in formulating this Plan, has recognised the importance of robust private sector in the economic arena. Thus, the Plan is geared towards creating a conducive economic environment and successive stimuli to encourage the development and growth of the private enterprise.

The Plan strongly emphasises the need for good governance. In its pursuit, in the Plan period, accountability, transparency, efficiency of the government and non-discriminatory application of the laws of the country in contrast to the silent litany of neglect of the principle of justice in these areas since '75 will be aimed at and cherished in work and aspirations. Together with investment in economic fields as projected, this will contribute to give meaning to the liberation of the country from the yokes of age old deprivation and to reaffirm that sweat, tears and blood of millions given for the liberation will always strengthen our determination to do our best for the future generation.


Joi Bangla

Joi Bangabandhu

(Sheikh Hasina)

Prime Minister
National Economic Council
Planning Commission

March 26, 1998