BNP on Sunday recalled Bangladesh’s ex-finance minister M Saifur Rahman claiming that presented the country with macroeconomic stability through various effective reforms and initiatives.
“Saifur Rahman himself was an institution. He’s undoubtedly one of them who had made outstanding contributions towards overhauling Bangladesh’s economy, and gave it a solid foundation,” said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Speaking at a virtual discussion, he said Saifur was a successful finance minister who carried out some basic tasks for strengthening the country’s economy. “Saifur's greatest achievement was presenting Bangladesh a stable macroeconomy which is essential to keep the economy vibrant.”
Saifur Rahman Parishad arranged the programme, marking the 12th death anniversary of the former finance minister.
Fakhrul said Saifur founded the basis of an open market economy and expanded it braving all the odds and obstacles. “He’s a professional chartered accountant, but Ziaur Rahman brought him to politics seeing his talent and capability for bringing innovative economic reforms in the economy, and he did it successfully.”
He said the late BNP finance minister also accomplished many basic works, including the introduction of VAT (Value Added Tax) in Bangladesh amid serious criticism. “In the course of time, it’s proved that was the right decision and Bangladesh’s revenue collection increased significantly because of it.”
The BNP leader said Saifur also introduced old-age allowance, disability allowance and freedom fighters’ allowance, for ensuring social security of people. “He had also made contributions to female education by taking many practical steps as per Khaleda Zia’s direction.”
He said Saifur launched food for education for ensuring school enrolment and attendance of school-aged poor children. “It’s a significant and creative step.”
Fakhrul also said the ex-BNP finance minister tried to build Bangladesh as a manufacturing country by setting up heavy industries alongside the RMG sector. “He initiated this move by setting up EPZs.”
He said Saifur ensured discipline in the banking and the insurance sectors as well as the stock market.
Stating that Saifur presented the national budget for the 12th time in parliament, Fakhrul said Bangladesh has not reached the current position overnight. “He (Saifur) reinforced the country's economy gradually in a disciplined manner. We remember him with great respect.”
BNP standing committee member Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain said Saifur Rahman was successful as a professional, economist, politician and minister.
He also said Saifur was a patriot finance minister and the country had achieved tremendous growth during his tenure. “BNP is proud of him.”
The 12th death anniversary of Saifur Rahman was observed on Sunday amid various programmers, including, placing wreaths at his grave in Moulvibazar, holding Milad mahfil, Qurankhawanni and distributing cooked food.
On September 5, 2009, Saifur, also a former BNP standing committee member, died in a road accident on Dhaka-Sylhet Highway at the age of 77.
Born at Baharmardan village in Moulvibazar Sadar Upazila on October 6, 1932, Saifur was with BNP since its inception as an adviser to late president Ziaur Rahman. He went on to serve in Zia’s cabinet as the first commerce minister and then the finance minister.