Saifur Rahman (Bangladeshi politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Saifur Rahman
সাইফুর রহমান
M. Saifur Rahman.jpg
Rahman in March 2006
Minister of Finance
In office
10 October 2001 – 28 October 2006
Preceded byShah A M S Kibria
Succeeded byAbul Maal Abdul Muhith
In office
March 1991 – March 1996
Preceded byMohammad Abdul Munim
Succeeded byShah A M S Kibria
In office
April 1980 – May 1981
Succeeded byAbul Maal Abdul Muhith
Member of Parliament
for Moulvibazar-3
In office
15 February 1996 – 9 October 2001
Preceded byAzizur Rahman
Succeeded byM. Naser Rahman
Member of Parliament
for Sylhet-1
In office
10 October 2001 – 28 October 2006
Preceded byHumayun Rashid Chowdhury
Succeeded byAbul Maal Abdul Muhith
Personal details
Born(1932-10-06)October 6, 1932
Baharmardan, Moulvibazar, Sylhet, British India (now Bangladesh)
DiedSeptember 5, 2009(2009-09-05) (aged 76)
Ashuganj, Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh
Political partyBangladesh Nationalist Party
ChildrenM. Naser Rahman
Parent(s)Abdul Basit and Talebunnessa
Alma materUniversity of Dhaka
Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales
OccupationChartered accountant

Mohammad Saifur Rahman (Bengali: মোহাম্মদ সাইফুর রহমান; October 6, 1932 – September 5, 2009) was a Bangladeshi economist and politician. He was a leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the longest-serving Finance Minister of Bangladesh. He delivered 12 national budgets in three terms between 1980 and 1981, 1991–1996 and 2001–2006 over a ministerial life spanning from December 1976 until October 2006 in three different governments. He was Trade & Commerce Minister for the first three years, and thereafter Finance and Planning Minister for 12 years.[1]

In 1994, he was elected governor of the golden jubilee conference of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Madrid, Spain.[1] In 2005, Rahman was awarded Ekushey Padak, the highest state honor of Bangladesh.[1][2]


Rahman was born on October 6, 1932, in the village of Baharmardan located in current Mostafapur Union, Moulvibazar Sadar, Moulvibazar District, in the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh. His father was Abdul Basit.[3] As a young man, he participated in the Bengali Language Movement of 1952, part of a growing nationalism. He was vice-president of Salimullah Muslim Hall while at University of Dhaka.[1]

In 2005, he was awarded Ekushey Padak, the second-highest state award, for his role in the Bengali Language Movement. A prominent chartered accountant, Rahman was one of the founders of Rahman Rahamn Huq (currently KPMG Bangladesh), a noted chartered accountancy firm.[1]

He actively advocated to establish three prominent educational institutions: Sylhet Agricultural University, Sylhet Teacher's Training College, and Sylhet Engineering College.[1] Active in professional organizations, he was a founding member of the Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs,[4] and served as the president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh, and president of the United Nations Association of Bangladesh.


Rahman graduated from Moulvibazar Government High School in 1949 and did his Intermediate from Sylhet MC College in 1951.[5] He graduated from Dhaka University with a B.Com (Hons) in 1953. The next year he went to London and studied to qualify as a Chartered Accountant; he earned his certificate from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. He became a specialist in monetary, fiscal and development economics.[6]


Rahman joined a political coalition called the Jatiyatabadi Ganatantrik Dal in 1978, who were supporters of then-president Ziaur Rahman. The party was formalized in September 1978 as the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP).[1] The party came into formed its first administration after the general election in 1979 of the 2nd Parliament, in which Rahman won a seat from his home district.

Rahman was appointed as the finance minister of the first BNP administration under President Ziaur Rahman, in which he served until 1981.[7] Saifur Rahman prepared a record 12 budgets in Bangladesh; he has been praised for opening up Bangladesh's economy in the early 1990s and pioneering major economic reforms. He contributed to the expansion of the economy after the restoration of parliamentary democracy.[8] He served as a minister of Bangladesh for a total of 14 years.

Together with the BNP, Rahman was successful in the general elections of 2001. Contesting on behalf of his party in the parliamentary constituency Moulvibazar-3, Saifur Rahman gained 52 per cent of the total votes.[9] In another contest at the constituency Sylhet-1, Saifur Rahman secured 53 per cent of the total votes, again defeating a rival candidate from the Awami League.[10] As per the constitution, Saifur had to leave blank one of his won constituencies to proceed the house session. He decided to leave the Moulvibazar-3 seat which was later retaken by his son M. Naser Rahman, also representing Bangladesh Nationalist Party.[8]

In the general elections in 2008, Rahman was defeated in his two constituencies by the Awami League candidates. Abul Maal Abdul Muhith won in Sylhet-1, and was appointed as Finance Minister.

Personal life[edit]

Rahman married Duree Samad Rahman, daughter of Late Bazlur Samad Chowdhury, a reputed banker from Chittagong. Saifur Rahman's maternal uncle-in-law was late AK Khan, veteran industrialist and minister.[11]

They had three sons and a daughter together. Duree died of cancer in 2003. His son M. Naser Rahman has followed him into politics; in 2001 by-elections, he won his father's left constituency of Moulvibazar-3. His youngest son married a daughter of late Chowdhury Kamal Ibne Yusuf, a renowned political figure and former Minister. Saifur's only daughter Saifa Rahman married Amer Siddiqi the son of late Mustafizur Rahman Siddiqi, also a former Minister and diplomat.


The Saifur Rahman Auditorium in Moulvibazar Government High School.

Rahman died in a road crash on September 5, 2009, in Brahmanbaria District on his way to Dhaka from his home district of Moulvibazar. Taken unconscious from the car, he was declared dead after being rushed to a hospital.[12] On Friday he was in Sylhet visiting the shrines of Shah Jalal and Shah Paran, then headed for Moulvibazar. A total of five janazah prayers were held for Rahman, the first of which took place in Gulshan Azad Mosque, then at the BNP offices, Parliament buildings, Shahi Eidgah Maidan and Moulvibazar Government High School.[13] The BNP began three days of mourning for the passing.[14] Rahman was buried at his family graveyard beside his wife's grave in Baharmardan village after the prayers.[15][16]


Saifur Rahman is credited with being the architect of Bangladesh's economic transformation and liberalization in 1990s by introducing VAT, tax reforms and free market policies.[17] A M A Muhith, the Finance Minister, characterized Rahman's death as "a loss to the nation."[2] The United States mentioned his "critical role in improving the lives and bringing prosperity to millions of Bangladeshis by opening Bangladesh's economy and promoting free market reforms."[2]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Saifur Rahman's life sketch". The Daily Star. 5 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ex-finance minister Saifur Rahman dead". The Financial Express. 6 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-09.
  3. ^ "Life sketch of Saifur Rahman". 5 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-07.
  4. ^ "Founder Members". Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  5. ^ Hossain, Urmee. "Rahman, M Saifur". Banglapedia: National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.
  6. ^ "Saifur Rahman". Silobreaker. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  7. ^ "Ex-Bangladesh finance minister dies in car crash". Yahoo News. Agence-France Presse. 5 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-16. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  8. ^ a b "US condoles death of Saifur". 5 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-02-20. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  9. ^ General Election Results - Bangladesh 2001, Moulvibazar-3
  10. ^ General Election Results - Bangladesh 2001, Sylhet-1.
  11. ^ "Remembering the budget wizard". Dhaka Tribune (Op-ed). 6 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Saifur Rahman killed in B'baria crash". 5 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-07-22.
  13. ^ "Saifur dies in car crash". The Daily Star. 6 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  14. ^ "Saifur's third janaza held". The Daily Star. 6 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2012-10-07. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  15. ^ "Saifur's wife buried". The Daily Star. UNB. 2003-10-22. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  16. ^ "Saifur laid to rest". The Daily Star. 2009-09-07. Retrieved 2018-08-10.
  17. ^ Rahman, Jyoti (12 September 2009). "Saifur Rahman's legacy". The Daily Star. Retrieved 5 November 2016.
  18. ^ "Biography for Saifur Rahman" Archived 2013-02-16 at, Silobreaker