Govt creating 'land bank' of 100,000 acres | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 04, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:26 AM, November 04, 2016

Govt creating 'land bank' of 100,000 acres

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The government is creating a 'land bank' of 100,000 acres to help domestic and foreign investors set up their factories without any hassle in Bangladesh, said Abul Kalam Azad, principal secretary to the prime minister, yesterday.

The 100,000 acres would include the special economic zones that the government plans to set up.

The land application law will be amended in two to three months to give land owners more compensation than they currently get, he said at a programme organised by the Public Private Partnership Authority at the capital's Sonargaon Hotel.

The PPP Authority signed preliminary agreements with 14 lenders on PPP financing partnership.

As per the agreements, the PPP Authority will send tender documents to the 14 banks and non-bank financial institutions before awarding the contracts so that lenders can analyse whether the projects will be financially viable for them.

Land is a big problem in Bangladesh, so the government has decided to amend the land application law, Azad said. The proposal is likely to be placed before the cabinet next week.

“The amended law will ensure higher compensation and less hassle and complexities,” said Azad, who is also the chairman of PPP Authority.

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority is working to build 77 zones over the next 10 to 15 years.

Initial estimates suggest 50,000-70,000 acres will be required for the economic zones, of which, 20,000-25,000 acres have already come under the government's control, he said.

“Nearly one lakh acres of land will be brought under this land bank to reduce the hassles and complexities of investors.”

Investors will get all services, be it electricity, gas, tax issues, at the zones, he said.

China has been granted 700 acres of land and the allocation of this land has already been completed, he said.

Special economic zones are being developed on a fast-track basis, Azad said, adding that the government also plans to form a separate authority to handle the skills issue of manpower.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, who spoke on the occasion as chief guest, said the government is now getting lots of investment proposals from foreign investors and some of the proposals are big ones.

“One such big foreign investment proposal is the construction of Dhaka-Payra rail line,” he said. Anis A Khan, chairman of the Association of Bankers Bangladesh and managing director of Mutual Trust Bank, said the programme will create awareness about PPP among the lenders.

He, however, said lots of development projects are being implemented, so there must be discipline in the works as well.

Khan also requested the government to give incentives to investors of PPP projects so that they are encouraged to come up with their investments. Earlier, Afsor H Uddin, chief executive officer of the PPP Authority, presented an overview of the PPP programmes in Bangladesh.

He said the authority has principally given approval to 44 PPP projects worth $14 billion. Contracts have been signed for eight projects worth $1.5 billion.

Eunusur Rahman, secretary of the banking and financial institutions division, also spoke.

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