The government will develop five special economic zones in the next two years to attract both foreign and domestic investments.
Four SEZs will be set up under the government's Bangladesh Economic Zones Development Project at a cost of Tk 81.95 crore in Mongla, Moulvibazar and Chittagong's Anwara and Mirersorai areas.
Of the total cost of the four SEZ projects, the government will contribute Tk 2.25 crore. The rest Tk 79.70 crore will come from project aid: the International Development Association, World Bank's soft-lending window, will provide Tk 65.35 crore, while the Department for International Development (DFID) will provide Tk 14.35 crore.
“The funds will be used in land development, construction of office buildings and other infrastructure in the project sites,” said Md Nurannabi Mridha, project director of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), the project's implementing authority.
The fifth SEZ will be developed in Sirajganj with the government's own funds.
“All the five projects may create jobs for 1.5 crore people by 2021,” Mridha said.
The five projects were approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council yesterday.
AHM Mustafa Kamal, planning minister, said there are differences between the export processing zones (EPZs) and SEZs. “Only export-oriented products are manufactured in the EPZs, but all types of goods will be produced in the SEZs.” The government will provide land and utility, while investing companies will develop the infrastructure on their own.
“The main objective of the projects is to encourage local investors, attract foreign investors, improve the overall investment climate and generate employment that would help stimulate economic growth,” Kamal said.
The five economic zones will be developed on 8,827.99 acres of land, according to the BEZA website.