Foreign investment in EPZs grows 100pc in FY08
Foreign investment grew almost hundred percent to $302 million in the country's eight export processing zones (EPZs) in 2007-08 fiscal.
The volume of foreign investment in EPZs was only $152 million in the previous fiscal, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) officials said.
Bepza executives yesterday said weaker dollar, low labour costs and easy access to Asian markets were reasons behind the high growth of investment.
“Bepza for the first time received investment in diversified sectors like furniture, agro products and electrical and electronics goods,” Bepza General Manager (Investment Promotion) Abdur Rashid said.
He said an absence of labour unrest, secured investment and utility services for a considerable period of time prompted investors from countries like Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and Korea, who face high labour and other manufacturing costs in their countries, to invest in the EPZs.
Bepza also attained 17.73 percent growth in export earnings during 2007-08 fiscal. Bepza earned $2.43 billion in 2007-08 fiscal against the export earning of $2.06 in the fiscal 2006-07.
The EPZs have been able to employ over 1700 new workers during the fiscal with total employment in EPZs rising to 2.18 lakh.
The surge is in marked contrast to foreign investment levels outside the EPZs.
Rashid said Bepza received much larger scale investment proposals, many of which came from non-garment manufacturers.
"Bepza never received investment worth over $100 million at a time, but during 2007-08 fiscal we received several investment projects that are worth more than $100 million," he said.
Negotiations are on with Taiwanese furniture manufacturing company Tri Max Global Company Ltd, South Korean company Paka Textile, and another Taiwanese company Golden Chang to induce the companies to invest in Bangladesh at larger scale.
Rashid said entrepreneurs are attaching top priority to Bangladesh because of the country's close proximity to the fast growing South and South Asian markets and the fact that it is within easy reach of the Middle East.
Currently 283 industrial units are in operation in eight EPZs across the country. 174 of these are foreign, while 39 and 70 units are joint venture and Bangladeshi owned, respectively.