Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will open 10 economic zones on Sunday in a bid to boost foreign and domestic investment.
The prime minister will inaugurate the economic zones from a programme at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.
“We are hoping that the prime minister will open several other economic zones by December,” said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority or Beza.
Chowdhury spoke at a programme yesterday when Muhammad Abdus Samad, executive member for investment promotion at Beza, and Ron Haque Sikder, managing director of PowerPac Economic Zone (Pvt) Ltd, signed a deal.
Under the agreement, PowerPac, a unit of Sikder Group, will develop the 205-acre Mongla Economic Zone and operate it for 50 years to attract foreign and domestic investors.
PowerPac is the first company to achieve the first qualification licence for one of the 10 economic zones, six of which are being built by private entities.
The remaining four are modelled on public-private partnership, which are: Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chittagong, Mongla Economic Zone in Bagerhat, Srihatta Economic Zone in Moulvibazar and Sabrang Tourism Park in Cox’s Bazar.
Earlier, PowerPac had fulfilled all the conditions, including an environmental impact assessment, feasibility study and a master plan in line with a prequalification licence, which was awarded by Beza in May last year.
“We have already met some foreign investors in Singapore, and the economic zone would be a potential investment destination for them,” Sikder said. Chowdhury said the non-availability of land was a major problem for entrepreneurs. “But land is no more a problem. Some 30 economic zones can be set up in Mirsarai alone.”
The 10 economic zones are part of Beza’s plan to develop 100 such zones by 2030 on 75,000 acres and to create jobs for one crore people, he said.
Beza has so far awarded prequalification licences to four private companies to set up five economic zones — one each to AK Khan and Company, Abdul Monem Ltd, Bay Group, and two to Meghna Group.