Works are going in a quicker pace to implement the government’s pious aim of setting up 100 economic zones (EZs) across the country to make Bangladesh an investment hub and an export-centric country.
“For this purpose, the government has already acquired 15,528 acres of land and a move is underway to acquire more 20,000 acres of land within the current year,” Director (Admin) of the PMO Dr Dewan M Humayun Kabir told BSS.
Out of the 100 economic zones, infrastructure development works, land acquisition, development of land, appointment of developers and ensuring uninterrupted supply of electricity for 74 economic zones are now under process, he added.
The economic zones are being developed in a ‘well-planned’ and ‘well-coordinated’ manner, Kabir said, adding that the government is providing all kinds of support to the private sector investors to make EZs ready for investment within the stipulated time.
The government has already formulated necessary laws and regulations to remove all regulatory barriers and provide necessary policies and financial and utility supports, including ensuring the supply of gas, water and electricity under one stop service to offer investors a harassment-free environment, he added.
For attracting investments in EZs, Kabir said the government has declared various incentives and benefits, including exemption on income tax, VAT on electricity and local purchase, customs duty, stamp duty, dividend tax and income tax.
Under the Bangladesh Economic Zones Act 2010, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has been established to set up 100 EZs by 2030 on 75,000 acres of land to attract more investment as well as to crate employments for more than one crore people and increase export earnings.
The broad objectives of BEZA are structural transformation of the economy of Bangladesh through attracting FDI, developing and diversifying export, promoting skill, sharing knowledge, generating employment, ensuring dynamic benefits for the domestic industry and social and environmental sustainability, Kabir added.
BEZA is playing regulatory roles to establish the EZs, he said, adding that BEZA 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.
A safe and proper ground is being prepared for the investors in the economic zones, he said, the law allows the private sector to own, develop, and manage economic zones, as well as establishing infrastructure and services for the companies in the zones as a separate business.
Referring to the government’s vision-2021 and 2041 as well as achieving the targets of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, Kabir said, “The economic zones are expected to contribute to the national economy in terms of production, export and investment through generating employment for a huge number of people.”