Development of at least 10 more economic zones (EZs) will be completed by December this year, increasing the number of the completed EZs to 15.
“Development of 23 EZs out the planned 100 ones is progressing fast, with acquiring land, appointing developers and developing basic infrastructure”, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said.
He said among the 23 EZs, 10 would be completed by the end of this year. These are: Meghna Industrial Economic Zone, Mirsarai Economic Zone, Naf Tourism Special Economic Zone, Sabrang Economic Zone, Moulvibazar Economic Zone, Jamalpur Economic Zone, Sirajganj Economic Zone, Sonargaon Economic Zone, East-West Special Economic Zone and Akij Economic Zone.
BEZA chief said they had already developed five EZs in different areas of the country where some investors already made investment commitment. The completed EZs included Mongla Economic Zone, Abdul Monem Economic Zone, Bay Economic Zone, Aman Economic Zone and Meghna Economic Zone.
“Many investors, both local and foreign, including those from Japan and China, are showing keen interest in investing in the completed EZs”, Chowdhury said.
He said the government has already formulated necessary laws and regulations to remove all regulatory barriers and provide necessary policy, financial and utility supports, including ensuring supply of gas, water and electricity under one stop service to offer entrepreneurs a hassle-free environment for investment.
For attracting investments in EZs, Chowdhury said, the government also declared multiple incentives and benefits, including exemption of income tax, customs duty, stamp duty and dividend tax and VAT on electricity and local purchase.
“All the developers of the EZs as well as the investors will get the incentives,” he said.
Describing the activities of BEZA, he said, BEZA wants to establish 100 economic zones on 30,000 hectares of land in the next 15 years, which will also create new jobs for around 10 million people.
Through the Bangladesh Economic Zones Act 2010, BEZA was established under Prime Minister’s Office in November 2010 to establish economic zones in potential areas of the country for expediting inclusive growth.
The BEZA executive chairman said the government has chosen the location of economic zones based on regional connectivity, access to ports, and availability of enough workers and backward linkages.
BEZA is playing regulatory role to establish the EZs, he said, adding that the authority is appointing developers under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) modality to develop the EZs. Private sector is also establishing EZs by taking license from the government.
Referring to the government’s vision for 2021 and 2041 as well as achieving the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, the BEZA chief said the economic zones would contribute to the national economy in terms of increasing investment, production, export and creating new jobs.