PM opens work on 10 special economic zones
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday laid the foundation stones of 10 economic zones, the first of their kind in the country.
She also sought cooperation of the local people to set up the zones fast for building a prosperous Bangladesh.
"I would like to urge local people to extend cooperation so that the investors could build the [economic] zones in a faster pace and 'beautiful atmosphere', and that would help establish a hunger and poverty-free prosperous Bangladesh," she said.
With the economic zones, the PM said, the “living standard” of the people would improve as those will generate employment, alleviate poverty and infuse dynamism into the economy.
Hasina laid the foundation stones of 10 economic zones through videoconference from Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the capital yesterday morning.
Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal addressed the function as the special guests, while Housing and Public Works Minister Engineer Mosharraf Hossain joined it from Mirsarai Economic Zone, Chittagong.
Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Abul Kalam Azad delivered the welcome address, while Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury also spoke.
Terming the present government an “investment and business-friendly” one, the premier said her government wanted to create an excellent atmosphere for investment.
"We don't want to do business, rather we want to create scope for the businesspeople as we want [rapid] development of the country."
She also called upon local and foreign entrepreneurs to come forward to invest in the country's economic zones.
"We don't want to keep any stone unturned ... whatever scopes exist, we want to exploit all," she said.
Extending her sincere thanks to those who come forward to establish economic zones in Bangladesh, Hasina assured investors of all kinds of support for setting up more such zones here so that Bangladesh becomes a higher middle income country by 2021.
Also, she talked about her government's plan to set up 100 economic zones across the country.
The PM urged all concerned to give proper focus on the environment issues while setting up mills and factories in the zones.
"You will have to remain alert so that industry wastes are not dumped in the river or farmlands ... you will have to set up ETP or STP, wherever they are necessary," she said.
Spelling out government's steps for increasing electricity and gas production, Hasina mentioned that the country already achieved the power generation capacity of 14,000 megawatts.
"We have now set a target of producing 24,000 MW by 2021 and 60,000 MW by 2041," she said.
Of the 10 economic zones, Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chittagong, Srihattya Economic Zone in Moulvibazar, Mongla Economic Zone in Bagerhat and Subrang Tourist Park in Cox's Bazar are being developed under public-private sector initiative.
The remaining six economic zones being developed under private initiatives are located at Palash in Narshingdi, Boddarbazar at Sonargaon in Narayanganj, Konabari in Gazipur; Meghnaghat in Narayanganj, Choto Shilmandi at Sonargaon in Narayanganj and Gazaria in Munshiganj.