Businesses from home and abroad have come up with investment proposals worth $17.91 billion in Mirsarai, Sreehatta and Moheshkhali economic zones, which are now under construction.
Around $5.78 billion will come as foreign direct investment from companies in China, South Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, the UK, Australia, Malaysia and the US.
Over 60 local companies will invest the rest $12.13 billion, according to data from Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).
TK Group, Karmo Foam Industry, Mango Teleservices, BDCOM Online, Bashundhara Group, Siraj Cycle Industries Ltd, Abdul Monem Limited, Star Consortium and Ayesha Clothing Co Ltd are the major local investors.
The domestic companies want to pour funds in pharmaceuticals and chemical, steel, textiles, garments, bicycle, automobile, tyre and tube, electronics and ceramic sectors.
Both local and foreign businesses who will invest in the economic zones will enjoy the same facilities, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza.
Among the foreign ones, the highest investment proposal worth $2.83 billion came for the power sector from two Chinese companies.
South Korean entity Super Petrochemical showed interest to invest $2.38 billion in petrochemicals, the second biggest amount.
A Singaporean company stood third in the list with a fund of $400 million for the food processing sector.
“We hope the total investment in these zones will reach $50 billion by 2030. Mirsarai economic zone will get $25 billion and the other zones the rest $25 billion,” said Chowdhury.
He said more proposals are coming in thanks to the growing interest of foreign investors.
“We are receiving investment proposals regularly from local and foreign investors as we have created an investment-friendly environment.”
The amount of investment would increase in the days to come when the ease of doing business would improve along with the development of the infrastructure, he said.
Chowdhury said investments of India, Japan and China have not been included in this figure as those would come to special zones meant for their investors.
He, however, said a lot of work still has to be done as bringing in such investments was not an easy task. “I personally believe quality investment will come to the special economic zones of Japan, China and India,” he said.
He said the first factory of the Mirsarai zone is scheduled to be opened within a couple of months, in which a Chinese company would produce chemicals solely for export. The development of utility services and road communication of Mirsarai, Sreehatta and Moheshkhali zones would be complete by December this year, said AKM Mahbubur Rahman, zone development consultant at Beza.
Investors would start building their factories after the completion of the utility and communication works, he said. “The factories may go into production in 2021 as they will need at least two years to get prepared.”