Leading apparel exporter DBL Group has taken up a $1.2 billion investment plan to set up 19 factories inside Sreehatta economic zone in Moulvibazar of Sylhet by 2021.
The company got 170 acres of land inside the state-owned zone from Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).
It will build a spinning mill, a ceramics factory and industrial units to manufacture raw materials and finished products, such as integrated sportswear and apparel accessories, for domestic and export markets.
“We could not grow as expected because of land, gas, electricity and other infrastructure constraints,” said DBL Group Managing Director Md Abdul Jabbar.
“The new land will definitely boost the company's growth.”
With an annual export turnover of nearly $370 million, the business entity employs 30,000 people in 23 concerns, mostly in the apparel sector.
The enterprise registered a 15 percent year-on-year growth in exports over the last couple of years and Jabbar expects to reach 25 percent through the expansion.
Jabbar said they were waiting for the final nod from Beza before starting work from November to develop the area, including construction of effluent and water treatment plants.
“We will also have rooftop solar system to generate green electricity and harvest rainwater to meet part of our demand for water,” he said. A staff training centre will also be established there.
“We hope that two-three factories will come into operation by mid 2019,” he said. The business entity says the expansion would create jobs for about 39,000 people over the next four years.
DBL Group had earlier appealed to Beza to allocate the whole 352 acres of land of the economic zone, including 112 acres of water bodies, to the group.
Beza has provided 25 acres to Great Wall Ceramic, 14 acres to garment exporter Palmal Group and three acres to a non-resident Bangladeshi based in the United Kingdom, said Beza Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury.
He said work was underway to establish gas transmission lines and a power substation. Palmal Group wants to set up two textile units while Great Wall a ceramic factory, he added.
The Sreehatta economic zone is expected to be the first state-owned industrial enclave to go into operation among the 60 zones Beza selected after coming into being in 2010, to encourage local and foreign investment and create jobs.
Beza has already leased out the Mongla economic zone to PowerPac Economic Zone Private Ltd, a unit of Sikder Group, to develop and operate the industrial area for 50 years.
The Mirsarai economic zone near the Chittagong port is being developed to host industries of local and foreign investors, according to Chowdhury.
Besides, Beza has issued prequalification licences for the establishment of 19 private economic zones, five of which have got the final licence.