Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City likely to get $1.3b investment by 2025
Oryx Bio-Tech Limited was struggling for quite some time to find a suitable plot near Dhaka for building a large manufacturing plant -- the first-ever plasma fractionation plant in Bangladesh.
It will produce human plasma-based pharmaceutical products to be used in the treatment of complicated fatal diseases like cancer and hepatitis.
However, it was not easy for Oryx to find the plot as it requires quite a large space with uninterrupted electricity, water, gas, and other supplies, as it is a highly sophisticated and research-intensive industry.
Then they came to know about Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City (BHTC), a 355-acre industrial park, in Gazipur's Kaliakair upazila, which offers a developed and ready space with all the necessary amenities for tech-based industries.
"We were amazed to find BHTC, which is so close to Dhaka and offers prime plots connected with all the necessary infrastructure, uninterrupted supply system, and excellent communication networks," said Dewan Shahryar, adviser to the managing director of Oryx-Bio-Tech Ltd.
"The ICT division was also very cordial and helpful. As a result, we could complete all the initial tasks such as land allotment, power supply, and various other complicated works at great speed despite the pandemic," he said.
Thanks to the BHTC authorities' cooperation, in two years' time human plasma-based lifesaving pharmaceutical products, such as albumin, immunoglobulin, will be produced in Bangladesh, which are currently produced only in developed countries like the USA, Japan, Italy, France and the UK and in a few developing nations.
In the next three years, Oryx Bio-tech will invest $300 million in BHTC and has proposed to employ 2,000 workers in the plant.
Oryx Bio-Tech Ltd is just one of the 70 tech companies that have invested millions of US dollars in BHTC to produce world-class tech-based products in Bangladesh.
So far, 44 companies have been allotted plots in the park and many of them have started to construct their factory buildings.
According to the BHTC authorities, all the companies, who have been allotted plots, will start their production in full scale by 2025 if everything goes at the current pace.
The authorities have constructed an eight-storey service building, where two companies have been allotted more than 20,000 square feet of office space.
Five more companies have obtained office spaces in the newly-constructed administrative building.
The entire hi-tech city is divided into four blocks. The 65-acre block-1 will have residential facilities, a hotel, and administrative buildings. There will be training centres, a convention hall, mosques, shopping centre and other residential facilities in block-2.
Block-3 (40 acres), block-4 (36 acres) ,5 (29 acres), and block-6 (97 acres) will be entirely industrial areas, and a special zone comprising 97.33 acres of land has been developed for establishing research and development facilities.
The government has been constructing all types of associated infrastructures with its own funds in the park. All the necessary roads, electricity and gas lines, 48 core fibre optic cable network, lighting, power station, sewerage line bridges, and culverts have already been set up.
The mosque, shopping centre, several other buildings and a picturesque artificial lake are currently under construction.
Bikarna Kumar Ghosh, managing director of Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA), asserted, "Within the next two years, the hi-tech city will be completed and by 2025, all the companies will start their operation.
"At that time, the hi-tech city will employ around 50,000 skilled workers and we shall be able to attract billions of dollars' worth of investments from home and abroad."
The BHTPA has already taken several pragmatic steps to make investments easy and hassle-free for attracting investors.
Potential investors can quickly apply for land, and acquire different types of licences and certificates with the help of BHTPA's one-stop service centre.
The authorities are also working with the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to arrange tax exemption for IT devices and raw material needed for industries located at the hi-tech city.
Ghosh said, "We have sent a special proposal to NBR to arrange tax rebate and customs exemption for IT devices and raw material for our industries. Besides, we have hired former NBR members as our consultants to train our investors about our laws related to tax and customs.
"We are also working with Bangladesh Bank and Brac Bank to arrange loans on easy terms for our small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. We also arrange training and send trainees to international business expos on a regular basis."
SK Tito's Sidney Sun International is one such medium-sized companies that will start producing CCTV, XBR, NVR and other video surveillance accessories in BHTC by May this year.
Tito commented, "We are really impressed with the fact that we can now import our raw material more easily than before. Thanks to the authorities' training and consultation, we can now efficiently interact with the customs officials and have our goods quickly released from the ports.
"Now we need better inter-ministerial coordination so that the ongoing works do not stop in the upcoming days".
ICT State Minister Zunaid Ahmed Palak said, "Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City is a dream project of our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Through BHTC, we shall rebrand Bangladesh as an ICT exporter country in the world and it will be a great leap towards fulfilling our dream of building a digital Bangladesh.
"We believe that the internet is no longer a luxury. Rather, it is as essential as water and electricity. So, we are working to arrange a tax exemption for internet equipment. We shall complete all the continuing works of the hi-tech city within the time frame at all costs," he told The Daily Star.