Aluminum foil, plastic, milk and dairy, ready food cos dominate
Companies under aluminum foil, plastic products, milk and dairy products and ready food products bagged the top positions in the list of demand forecast made in a pre-feasibility study on the proposed Sylhet Economic Zone (SEZ).
The list was made in the pre-feasibility study report on the SEZ, prepared by International Finance Corporation (IFC)-Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF).
The report prepared in a span of four years from 2004 to 2007 forecast that the above companies would be established in the proposed SEZ within the first 15 years after the establishment of the economic zone, first of its kind which will also create job opportunities for 90,000 persons by the projected timeframe.
According to the ‘base case demand’ of the study report, the other companies to be established as forecast are poultry (boiler and layer), animal and fish feed, fish processing, meat processing, edible oil industries, fruit processing, spices, bakery and confectionary, sweetmeat, honey processing, tea blending and packaging, cereal, agar and RMG.
The list of companies also include composite textile, jute, ceramic, cement, glass, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, fertilizer, herbal cosmetics, toiletries, kitchen cabinet and oven, aluminum utensils, electric bulb, electric cable, appliance assembly, pvc pipes, melamine, plastic package and rubber.
The list also includes warehousing, leather and footwear, furniture, offset printing and packaging, corrugated carton, computerized automobile service and private power plants.
The government is set to establish a Special Economic Zone Authority by year-end to speed up local and foreign investment in the newly-fashioned industrial parks, an official said
The Chief Advisor’s Office is now scrutinising the final draft of a proposed ‘Special Economic Zone Ordinance-2008′ under which the authority would be created, a Board of Investment (BoI) source said.
“The proposed ordinance has already been approved in principle by the council of advisers,” he added.
The IFC study has recommended for selecting a new site for establishing an economic zone in Sylhet as the current site does not allow a profitable public-private partnership (PPP) due to its high developing costs.”The high development costs for the Sylhet site do not allow for a profitable PPP structure. (But) demand for an economic zone in Sylhet does exist, so a new site should be considered,” said the study. The BoI, which had earlier identified a site for establishing an economic zone in Sylhet for encouraging non-resident Sylhetis’ investment, initiated the pre-feasibility study. The study, considering four PPP scenarios, observed that the project generates an internal rate of return lower than the cost of capital, making it a poor investment choice.”The results of the financial modelling show that the Sylhet economic zone at that particular site is not a financially feasible project for a developer/ operator unless capital costs can be reduced substantially,” the study said.The BoI initially chose an area of 961 acres of land in Sylhet. The land, comprising low and wetlands, rivers and a lake, is situated five kilometres south of Sylhet, and has direct access to the highway and adjacent rail corridor.
A Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry source said about 500 bank branches in the region have a huge amount of idle money, mostly sent by expatriates but there is little investment. Besides, lengthy and complex procedure of official formalities also stand on the way of setting up new industries, he added.There is good prospects for establishing small and large scale industries in Sylhet region, which has now good road links with the capital and the port city. There is abundant natural resources including gas, stone, sand and fish in the region.
The special economic zone, adjacent to Fenchuganj-Tamabil Bypass Road Link, will provide land and other infrastructural facilities to the entrepreneurs to set up manufacturing and other industrial units.The SCCI has also signed a memorandum of understanding with the British-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BBCCI) in 2006. Under the deal, the BBCCI will bring together the non-resident Sylheties to invest in the economic zone. It is expected that 65 percent land of the zone will be provided to the expatriates.According to the study, Sylhet has available land, abundant natural and forest resources to set up an economic zone or industrial park. There is an ample scope to increase production of various agricultural commodities. In Sylhet division, there is also scope to increase fish production through undertaking aggressive programmes and activities. Sylhet has economically significant storage of minerals for industrialisation. Natural gas, limestone, sand stone and sand, glass sand and coal are available in this region.As the seven sister states of India are very near from Sylhet, the entrepreneurs or the investors will have an easy access to the seven sisters to export their products, he said.”We are hoping to get a huge response from the Sylheti expatriates,” he added.
The ordinance is being expedited after the advisory council led by Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed in July okayed creation of a SEZ in Sylhet.
The government has said it would develop several SEZs across the country to woo investment in the country’s manufacturing sector.
The SEZ, the first of its kind in the country, will be modeled after similar ‘successful’ zones located in China, Vietnam, South Korea, Dubai and Jordan.
Unlike the existing publicly owned and managed export processing zones (EPZs), an SEZ will be larger in scale and be linked to the domestic market.
The BoI executive member said the special economic zone authority would oversee the development and plot allotments in the SEZs, to be established on public-private partnership.
An official said site for the first SEZ is being searched in greater Sylhet district in line with the demand from the expatriate Sylheties.