Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority yesterday awarded two prequalification licences to Bashundhara Group to set up two economic zones at Keraniganj in Dhaka.
The group will set up the Bashundhara Special Economic Zone on 56 acres and the East West Special Economic Zone on 53.87 acres in Keraniganj, some 15 kilometres from the capital.
The sites will be suitable for setting up heavy and medium industries such as petroleum oil refinery, LPG cylinder manufacturing and bottling, food and beverage, chemical products, ship-building and steel industries.
The economic zones will create around 40,000 jobs, said Md Fakhruddin, chief operating officer of Bashundhara Dredging Company, a unit of Bashundhara Group.
Beza Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury handed over the licences to Bashundhara Group's Adviser Mohammad Mahboob Haider Khan at a programme in Dhaka.
Upon satisfactory completion of the prequalification exercises, Bashundhara will get the full licence, which will make it eligible to enjoy tax exemption for 12 years.
Apart from the developers, entrepreneurs can also get fiscal and financial incentives and other benefits that industrial units typically get in export processing zones.
By setting up a unit in an economic zone, investors can get tax exemption for 10 years.
They can also enjoy Bangladesh's significant market access to developed and neighbouring countries, demographic dividend, the domestic consumer market and most importantly, the cheap labour force.
Bashundhara Group has started operation as a real estate venture in 1987. Today, it is engaged in many areas such as cement, paper and pulp, tissue paper, steel, LP gas bottling and distribution, and trading. Beza has so far awarded licences to seven local private sector companies to set up eight economic zones -- one each to AK Khan and Company, Abdul Monem Ltd, Bay Group, Aman Group, Maisha Group, United Group and two to Meghna Group.
The government is also setting up four economic zones in the public sector: Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chittagong, Mongla Economic Zone in Bagerhat, Srihatta Economic Zone in Moulvibazar and Sabrang Tourism Park in Cox's Bazar. The government plans to develop 100 such zones by 2030 on 75,000 acres with a view to creating jobs for one crore people and producing products and services worth $40 billion.