Meghna Group of Industries will build two economic zones on 325 acres of land at Sonargaon upazila in Narayanganj, the third in the private sector.
The construction of the two EZs -- Meghna Economic Zone on 245 acres and Meghna Industrial Economic Zone on 80 acres -- will be completed within a year. Once all the factories are fully operational, they will create about 30,000 jobs.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority yesterday handed over pre-qualification licences to the local conglomerate in Dhaka.
Meghna Group will lease out plots mainly to foreign investors, said Mostafa Kamal, chairman of the company, adding that the zones will help the country attract foreign investment.
“The two EZs have availability of gas, water and its own power plant. So I believe that establishing new industries in the zones is possible without facing any difficulty,” he said.
The two zones are situated adjacent to the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. In addition, Meghna Economic Zone is situated on the bank of the river Meghna, he added.
Meghna Group opened talks with some foreign investors to make the two EZs a success.
“We have already signed MoUs with PM Group in Thailand and Chongqing Minmetal and Machinery Import and Export Company of China,” said Kamal, also managing director of Meghna Group.
Besides, Meghna is in talks with Wilmar in Singapore and Suetech Engineering in Thailand to build partnerships.
Industries such as pulp and paper, oil refinery, power plants, PVC, beverage, packaging film industry and petrochemicals will get priority in the two zones, he added.
“Some 2-3 factories are expected to begin operations in the zones within a year.”
The government is now paying special attention to the economic zones as it will help the country grab more foreign direct investment and create new jobs, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of BEZA.
“We are getting good responses to establish factories in the EZs from Japan, China and India.”
Foreign and local investors have shown interest in the EZs, thanks to low labour costs, a large domestic market and government incentive packages, he added.
The government aims to establish 100 economic zones in 15 years. The governing body of BEZA has approved the proposals for 22 economic zones and eight more sites have been primarily selected to set up EZs.
The construction of the economic zones at Mongla, Anwara, Mirsorai in Chittagong, Moulvibazar and Cox's Bazar is ongoing, according to BEZA.
Exports will grow by $40 billion a year and one crore jobs will be created if 70,000-75,000 acres of land can be allocated to EZs, said Chowdhury.
Earlier, BEZA handed over the first pre-qualification licence to AK Khan Company to build a 200-acre EZ in Narsingdi and a second to Abdul Monem Ltd to develop a 216-acre EZ in Gazaria, Munshiganj.
The annual turnover of Meghna Group is about $2 billion. The group has 30 business units located on 350 acres in Sonargaon, according to Kamal.