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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Bangladesh approves 24 more economic zones: Investors from Japan, India to get one each

Rejaul Karim Byron

The government has approved 24 more economic zones, including two separate special zones for Japan and India.
The approval came at a meeting of the Governing Board of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The BEZA had earlier okayed 22 such zones at a meeting in February, BEZA officials told The Daily Star.
A total of 24,017 acres of land, mostly owned by the government, have been allotted to the new 24 economic zones, they said.
At yesterday's meeting at the Prime Minister's Office, Hasina said the government would gradually set up 100 economic zones to attract more foreign investment.
Contacted, BEZA Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said investors from home and abroad could invest in these economic zones, except for the ones designated for specific countries.
Paban hoped the country would get foreign investment of $5 billion in the next five years.
In the new five-year plan, the government has set a target of fetching $9.56 billion foreign investment in 2020. The amount was $1.6 billion in the last fiscal year.
Paban said land development of seven economic zones had already started, and it would be completed by the end of this year. Work on eight more zones would also begin by this year.
The separate economic zone for India, approved yesterday, will be set up in Mongla covering 250 acres of land.
Earlier, another economic zone was designated for India, spanning 400 acres of land in Bheramara of Kushtia.
During Indian PM Narendra Modi's visit to Bangladesh in June, Dhaka signed an agreement with Delhi for giving India two special economic zones.
India had agreed to provide $88 million for setting up the two zones, said Paban.
The separate economic zone for Japan, which the BEZA approved yesterday, will cover 1,011 acres of land in Araihazar of Narayanganj, said a finance ministry official.
Japan wanted land near Dhaka for its economic zone, and the Bangladesh government made the decision accordingly, said the official seeking anonymity.
In June, the BEZA also approved the proposal for establishing a separate economic zone for China in Anwara of Chittagong.
On September 15, the Executive Committee of National Economic Council gave its nod to the Tk 420-crore project.
Under the project, the government will provide land to Chinese investors on long-term lease. And a firm nominated by the Chinese government will set up the economic zone.
The zone will cover 774 acres of land and is expected to be completed by June next year.
UNB reports: The PM told yesterday's meeting that the locations for some economic zones were already selected. She asked the authorities concerned to look for places for setting up more economic zones.
PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim later briefed the media.
He said the PM stressed the need for tapping the potentials of various regions.
Hasina said industries, especially medium and small ones, have to be established based on availability of resources in particular areas.
Good communication system should be taken into consideration in selecting locations for economic zones, she said.
The PM also underlined the importance of establishing domestic industries based on demands for products on the global market.

The meeting also reviewed the progress of BEZA activities.

Source:  The Daily Star, 22 October 2015

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