Photo courtesy of: BEZA
Coherence of investment policies and long-term political support are the most important factors in attracting domestic and foreign direct investment to the country, said Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury.
Investors make their decisions after being assured of the rate of return on any investment based on the existing duty and tax policy in place, and any negative change in the structure of taxes and duties makes the investment financially unsustainable. he said in a recent interview. with the New Age.
Bangladesh’s prospects of obtaining higher amounts of FDI are very bright given its incredible progress in establishing economic zones across the country, he said in an interview with the newspaper. at the BEZA headquarters in Dhaka.
“Everything is in favor of Bangladesh in terms of attracting investments as the country is experiencing rapid growth with higher economic growth in a context of increased purchasing capacity of the population, political and macroeconomic stability, trade regimes and liberalized investment and huge amount of industrial land in the economy of areas with the required infrastructure and attractive incentive packages, ”he said.
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, which stretches from Mirsarai in Chattogram to Sonagazi in Feni over more than 30,000 acres of land, will have a huge impact on the national economy, predicted Paban, who joined BEZA in June 2014.
“Once the development works are completed, the BSMSN, 50 kilometers from the port city of Chattogram, will be the largest industrial city in the country and the region. This will turn Bangladesh into a new manufacturing hub in the world, ”said Paban.
BEZA’s board of directors, established in 2011 with the aim of creating 100 economic zones across the country, creating jobs for a crore of people and generating an additional $ 40 billion in export revenue, has already approved the implementation of 97 economic zones.
“BSMSN alone is equivalent to 100 EZs given the size of the other EZs as well as the eight existing export processing zones under the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority, and the fact that products and services worth $ 50 billion will be produced in the city alone. ,’ he said.
Although BEPZA contributes 20 percent of total export earnings, it has developed eight EPZs on 2,290 acres of land in 40 years.
Out of the EAs, 68 economic zones belong to the State and 29 are private. The implementation of 28 economic zones is underway, according to BEZA.
Of the zones, two are established under public-private ownership, four are established under a government-to-government partnership with Japan, India and China, and three are tourist parks. .
The investment promotion agency has already signed investment deals worth more than $ 23.97 billion with domestic and foreign investors to set up factories in state-owned economic zones, according to the report. BEZA January newsletter.
An additional $ 3 billion has been invested in private economic zones, the statement said.
The BSMSN alone has attracted investment worth $ 20 billion, including more than $ 3 billion in FDI, Paban said, adding that he had already allocated land to investors to set up clothing factories. , steel, power generation, pharmaceuticals, paint and LPG gas and food processing plants. to BSMSN, which has the potential to create jobs for 1.63 lakh.
World famous companies including Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Nippon Steel and Sojitz Corporaiton from Japan, Adani Corporation and Asian Paints from India, and Yabang Group, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation and Jeihong Medical from China are investing here and other international companies lined up. invest, according to BEZA.
The agency has been successful in attracting FDI worth over $ 600 million, even amid the COVID outbreak.
Investment proposals worth $ 5 billion are in the works while the industrial city has the potential to bring in an additional $ 5 billion to $ 10 billion in investment, he hoped.
Without revealing the name, the executive chairman of BEZA said that a world-famous automaker was in talks with him to set up a factory at BSMSN.
Meanwhile, the president of a US-based company will soon be visiting Bangladesh to assess the feasibility of a 100% export-oriented refinery that will be built for an investment of more than $ 3 billion.
It will be a great success if consensus is reached in the discussions, he commented.
Paban said that thanks to clues left by the Japanese Embassy in Dhaka, he estimated that around 100 Japanese companies could invest more than $ 1 billion in the Araihazar Economic Zone, built on 1,000 acres of land in Narayanganj – the second flagship project dedicated to Japanese investors.
A project called Foreign Direct Investment Project valued at Tk 2,582 crore was adopted to develop the infrastructure of the Japanese economic zone. The Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corporation is working together with BEZA to develop it.
He said investments in Vietnam were already saturated, and Japan was now looking for new markets to invest as it moved its manufacturing units from China.
Investors from the East Asian country are now focusing on Bangladesh and India, he added.
He hopes that the Chinese economic and industrial zone of Anowara in Chattogram and the Indian economic zones of Mongla and Mirsarai will also attract significant amounts of FDI from the respective countries.
Although BEZA was established in 2011, it spent its first four years doing various preparations, including developing rules and regulations, finalizing the organization chart and setting up his office.
The agency effectively began its journey of establishing economic zones in 2015.
Looking back on that time, the executive chairman of BEZA said that no one believed that Bangladesh would be able to build a whole new industrial city.
Initially, the goal of creating 100 ZE was to gain the attention of people, media, investors and policymakers, but it has now become a reality, he said.
BEZA has already developed a large land reserve comprising 50,000 acres in EZs across the country and some 7,651 acres have already been allocated to manufacturers in EZ Mirsarai and Feni under the BSMSN.
“We aim to build land reserves of 75,000 acres and by 2030 the land size will reach 1 lakh acres,” he said.
It is a huge success for BEZA who started their journey even without having a bank account, he said.
All world-class facilities including a seaport, LNG terminal, financial and residential districts will be developed within the BSMSN which will be gradually extended to Companiganj in Noakhali and Sandip in Chattogram, he said in explaining the future plan.
BEZA will only allocate 50pc of the total land to industries and the rest will be allocated to open spaces, parks, lakes, tree plantations, a central effluent treatment plant and other facilities to make it a completely green industrial city, the third largest city in the country after Dhaka and Chattogram, he explained.
According to BEZA, significant developments, including infrastructure development and land allocation, have already taken place in other state-owned EEZs, including the Shreehatta Economic Zone in Moulvibazar, the Jamalpur Economic Zone and Maheshkhali Economic Zone.
It also handed over the final license to 10 private zones, including the Abdul Monem Economic Zone, Aman Economic Zone, Meghna Economic Zone, City Economic Zone and Bay Economic Zone and most large economic zone of Sirajganj.
Many factories, including the Japanese giant Bangladesh Honda Private Ltd, have already started production in the areas.
Significant development is also underway in tourist parks – Sonadia Eco-tourism Park, Naf Tourist Park and Sabrang Tourist Park in Cox’s Bazar.
Paban hoped that the tourist parks would bring drastic changes to the country’s tourist landscape.
Regarding the One Stop Service (OSS), he said that BEZA had integrated 125 services into the OSS system.
Currently, 48 services are provided online through the OSS center. Six more services will be added this month and all services will be delivered online by the end of the year.
For the proper functioning of the system, the mindset of the heads of the relevant agencies should change with the digital integration of the agency system, he said.
With regard to tax incentives, he recommended to the authorities concerned not to think only of the losses in tax revenue incurred as a result of the tax incentives offered to investors, as the benefits created have had considerable impacts on the economy by bringing investments and creating jobs, thereby generating more income. .
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury