Akij Group will invest about Tk 1,500 crore to set up three industrial plants in its economic zone in Mymensingh to produce raw materials for plastics which will cut imports.
At these plants, Akij will produce formaldehyde, biax film and urea moulding compounds, which are now imported. The company received a prequalification licence from Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority or Beza for building the economic zone.
Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza, handed over the prequalification licence to Sheikh Bashir Uddin, managing director of Akij Group, at a programme at the Beza office in Dhaka on Wednesday.
“We can save at least Tk 1,000 crore if we don't need to import these products,” said Bashir.
Formaldehyde is a raw material for producing resin, while urea moulding compound is the raw material for manufacturing plastic products. Biax film is a kind of thin and transparent polythene used in food and tobacco packaging.
Akij also plans to set up a plant for manufacturing particle board and medium-density fibreboard in its economic zone.
The zone to be developed on around 110 acres will create direct jobs for some 20,000 people in the next five years, as it will be a suitable place for both local and foreign entrepreneurs, officials said.
Akij Group has urged the government to provide uninterrupted gas and electricity to the plants in the economic zone. “A lack of utility connections remains a major barrier to attracting investment,” Bashir said.
Akij will now conduct an environmental impact assessment, a feasibility study and make a master plan by next year in line with the licence requirements.
It will be the 12th economic zone to be developed by a private sector company. An economic zone is a designated area in a country with special economic regulations that differ from the rest of the country. An entrepreneur can enjoy various benefits, including tax incentives from the authorities, by setting up an industrial unit in an economic zone.
Chowdhury said the private sector will play a leading role in achieving Beza's target of setting up 100 economic zones by 2030. “At least half the economic zones will be set up by the private enterprises.” On utility connections, he said the problems will be solved in two years. Beza awarded a final licence to Meghna Group of Industries in August to set up an economic zone in Narayanganj.
It also awarded prequalification licences to nine local private companies to set up 10 other economic zones -- one each to AK Khan and Company, Abdul Monem Ltd, Meghna Group, Bay Group, Aman Group, Maisha Group, United Group, Unique Group and two to Bashundhara Group. Beza is also setting up four economic zones in the public sector. It plans to create jobs for one crore people in the 100 economic zones by 2030 and produce goods and services worth $40 billion.