Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) will ink a deal with Japanese Sumitomo Corporation in February to develop a special economic zone for 200 investors from Japan, said a top official.
The draft land lease agreement to allow the zone to be built on 1,000 acres of land at Araihazar upazila in Narayanganj has been prepared and is waiting for vetting by the law ministry.
“Establishment of an economic zone for Japan in Bangladesh is a great move, which will prove that Bangladesh is a lucrative place for foreign investors,” Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Beza, told The Daily Star yesterday.
He said 500 acres of land had already been acquired for the zone and the rest was in the pipeline for acquisition.
According to Beza, Japan International Cooperation Agency, the development arm of the Japanese government, will lend Bangladesh about Tk 1,000 crore at a concessional interest rate to establish the zone.
Sumitomo Corporation will invest about Tk 600 crore and would get it back from investors.
It has built and continues to run economic zones in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam and the SEZ in Bangladesh would be its fifth, according to Chowdhury.
He said since the visit of the prime ministers of both Bangladesh and Japan to each other's country in 2014, an increasing number of Japanese investors are doing business in Bangladesh.
On November 18, Daisuke Arai, country representative of Japan External Trade Organisation (Jetro), at a press meet said investment of Japanese companies in Bangladesh had been increasing steadily at a rate of 16-17 percent for the last few years with the majority of investors showing growing interest to expand business.
Investment has continued to increase even after the Holey Artisan attack, he had said.
Besides, a survey of Jetro shows that 70 percent of Japanese companies expressed interest to expand their presence in Bangladesh in the next one year and around 60 percent in the next two to three years.
The number of Japanese companies operating in the country was 183 in 2014 and it went up to 223 in 2015, 245 in 2016, 260 in 2017, and 269 in 2018, according to the survey.