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 maximize economic development warranted by changes in the political, social and economic environment within and outside the country.