AK Khan Company will build a 200-acre special economic zone in Narsingdi, the first under the private sector.
The work for the SEZ will start in January, and once completed, the zone will create about one lakh jobs.
The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority yesterday handed over the pre-qualification licence to the local conglomerate at a programme at its office in the capital.
AK Khan Company will lease out plots to foreign investors, said Salahuddin Kasem Khan, managing director of AK Khan Company, adding that the main objective of the SEZ is to create jobs in the country.
Foreign investors are put off from coming to Bangladesh due to the complications faced in securing land and head to Myanmar or Vietnam instead.
“With the SEZ, such complications will be eliminated. Investors will not face any hassles -- all they have to do is lease the plots from us.”
AK Khan acquired the 200-acre land in the central district of Narsingdi, 50km north-east of Dhaka, over a period of 7-8 years.
Hi-tech industrial units will get privilege at the SEZ, while the textile industries will be discouraged, Khan said. The priority sectors are: information technology, electronics, telecommunication, health, digital machines, agro-based industries and plastic, he said.
GDP growth is not possible without the inflow of foreign direct investment, new technology and employment and product diversification, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of BEZA. “We should come out of our RMG dependency.”
Japan and China have showed interest in building SEZs in the country, he said, adding that an Indian team has come to his office on Tuesday to know about the facilities offered by the government. “We are getting good responses from different countries.”
Exports will grow another $30 billion and one core jobs will be created if 30,000 hectares of land can be allocated for building SEZs in line with the Japan International Cooperation Agency study, he said.
The SEZ will be developed under the private sector to motivate players, said AKM Mahbubur Rahman, member of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority.