On 874 acres land at Nawabganj
Mahfuja Mukul: The government is making a hundred economic zones across the country for creating employment, rapid poverty alleviation and planned industrialization. It is a part of the government’s development policy. As a part of this, an economic zone will be established on 874 acres of land in Dhaka’s Nawabganj. The proposed expenditure in this sector is Tk 1915 crore. Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) has already sent the project proposal to the Planning Commission.
It is known that on January 9 this year, a meeting of the Commission’s Project Evaluation Committee (PEC) was held under the chairmanship of Abdul Baki, a member (secretary) of the Industry and Energy Department of the Planning Commission. In the meeting, the project titled ‘Establishment of Nawabganj Economic Zone’ was discussed.
Head of the Planning Commission’s Industry and Energy Department (Additional Secretary) Md. Mostafizur Rahman said that the PEC meeting of the project was held. Beza is implementing it. This economic zone will be built with an area of about 874 acres in Nawabganj Upazila of Dhaka District. There will be a connecting road. The road will be implemented through the acquisition of 12.516 acres of land in Sirajdikhan Upazila of Munshiganj district. A total expenditure of Tk 1915 crore has been proposed for the establishment of this economic zone.
The project proposal is included in the list of unauthorized new projects in the Annual Development Program (ADP) for the financial year 2022-23 without allocation, the Planning Commission said.
On behalf of Beza, Deputy Secretary Nazmul Alam told that a pre-feasibility study has been done by consulting firm Price Water House Coopers. In that light, the Project Proposal (DPP) has been formulated proposing the construction of some offsite and onsite infrastructure along with land acquisition required for setting up the economic zone. Finance department has agreed to implement by taking loan at 2 percent interest.
According to Beza, the proposed project is a priority project of the Prime Minister’s Office. The project titled ‘Establishment of Nawabganj Economic Zone’ has been proposed to be implemented for the period of July 2023 to June 2026 at a total cost of Tk 1,915 crore. The project area is very close to the capital, so it will be a profitable project.
However, according to the Planning Commission, the permission of the Department of Environment and BIWTA must be obtained before the implementation of the project. Survey is essential before project proposal approval process.
IMED says that lack of feasibility study leads to difficulties in project implementation and increases project cost and implementation period. So, there is no scope to ignore the detailed feasibility study.
Overall survey will be done after project approval. Expenditure for physical works has been estimated from various engineering departments of Govt as per updated approved rate schedule. Construction of four lane link road under the project was discussed. However, even if the resources of the connecting road are kept, it will be implemented as a delegated work through the concerned organizations – said Beza.
Regarding this project, the finance department said that only if there is money in the wholesale sector, there can be an opportunity to finance the project. Otherwise, the allocation can be kept in the next financial year. There are queries regarding the need for overseas training/study tours, consultancy services and seminars/conferences.
In this context, Beza said, Beza works to attract international investment. So, it is necessary to keep the allocation in the seminar-conference sector. On the other hand, global and regional experience is needed for creating an investment-friendly environment and regular development. Considering this, some budget allocation has been kept for foreign training/study tour sector. However, these expenses will be subject to the approval of the appropriate authorities.
Bader argument about consultants, due to lack of own manpower, they have to take consultant services in various matters. Expenditure in this sector has been proposed in the light of the experience of various previous projects.
Nawabganj is one of 100 economic zones
The government wants to establish 100 economic zones on 30 thousand hectares of land in the next 15 years. Each district will have multiple economic zones. The project is being taken up as part of this. The government is working on setting up four types of economic zones – public, private, public-private partnership (PPP) and foreign – to attract domestic and foreign investment.
To attract domestic investors as well as foreign investors to invest in these regions, many other incentives including tax holidays, income tax waivers, duty-free facilities on import of machinery have been announced. In the meantime, investors from various countries including Taiwan, China, Japan, India, Philippines, United Kingdom have expressed interest in investing in these regions.
The government has also demarcated areas for them. Many domestic industrial groups have shown interest in investing in private economic zones. Six successful business groups have already been granted pre-qualification licenses to establish economic zones by Beza.
According to Beza, some industrial factories have been built in Dhaka, Chittagong, Narayanganj, Savar and Gazipur without planning, but they have survived mainly by relying on agriculture and rural economy. Therefore, the establishment of these economic zones is an initiative to break the old circle of agriculture and rural economy and move towards planned industrialization.
If these economic zones are implemented, the face of the whole country will change. These regions will play an important role in becoming a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. In the next 15 years, additional export income from one hundred economic zones will be four thousand billion dollars. At least one crore people will be employed in the country. Through this, on the one hand, as the country’s economy will speed up, Bangladesh will also be freed from the problem of unemployment.
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