Economic zones get priority in new Indian credit
Developing special economic zones will be one of the agendas of the new $4.5 billion Indian line of credit to Bangladesh, extended during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's three-day visit to New Delhi.
A total of 17 projects have been identified by the two sides for implementation under the line of credit, the third from India.
At least three of the projects involve the development of economic zones, a priority for the Bangladesh government as it looks to ramp up private sector investment.
Of the total amount of the credit, about $500 million will be used for setting up new economic zones for Indian and other investors, according to officials of the finance ministry and the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority.
Some $100 million will be provided for setting up a dedicated economic zone spanning 1,005 acres in Mirsarai, Chittagong for the neighbouring country's investors -- a move that has been hailed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Another $100 million may be used for developing a special economic zone at Payra or Moheshkhali; $300 million may be allocated for developing infrastructure of different economic zones.
The projects will be finalised later, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza.
India has already conducted a feasibility study for three separate EPZs in Mirsarai, Bheramara and Mongla, according to Chowdhury.
He is hopeful about getting the reports of the feasibility study by next month. Both the prime ministers sought quick establishment of the Indian special economic zones, according to a joint statement.
The two prime ministers expressed optimism that the economic zones will encourage Indian businessmen to bring in more investment to Bangladesh.
On the sidelines of the bilateral talks on Saturday, a number of deals were signed by the two countries' business communities that would see upwards of $9 billion of investment flow into Bangladesh, according to the statement.
“Prime Minister Modi appreciated the progress made in respect of Indian private sector investments in the power sector of Bangladesh and hoped that more Indian investments would follow, including possibilities of joint ventures between Indian and Bangladeshi companies.”
India provided $1 billion credit in August 2010 and $2 billion in March 2016.