Govt plans to set up more SEZs
Star Business Report
The government will not allow new export processing zones (EPZs), as it plans to set up special economic zones (SEZs) to boost the pace of industrialisation, said Industries Minister Dilip Barua yesterday.
The objective of developing the SEZs, rather than the EPZs, is to promote domestic entrepreneurs as they contribute to revenue generation and job creations for thousands of people, Barua added.
The minister spoke at a roundtable on “Opportunities for Bangladeshi Business: New Economic Zone Regime” at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka.
Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) in collaboration with Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund (BICF) jointly organised the discussion.
He said the government will establish industrial parks in Sirajganj near Jamuna River and at Miraswarai in Chittagong on vast fallow government lands.
“The process of handing over the ownership of lands from the land ministry to the industries ministry is going on for establishing the SEZs in different areas,” Barua said.
He said both local and foreign nationals will be eligible to invest in the special zones.
Replying to different queries of the participants, the minister ruled out the possibility of expanding the existing eight EPZs as an alternative of SEZs. “There is no scope for such expansion anymore.”
Some of the discussants recommended for expansion of the EPZs as there is scarcity of lands in the country.
Economic zones is an umbrella used to stand for many kinds of zones, such as, free trade zone, EPZs, free ports, IT parks, foreign trade zones and SEZs, said Asif Ibrahim, DCCI president.
Ibrahim said the government has decided to set up seven SEZs in seven divisions in the country to boost local and foreign investments.
Abdul Aziz, director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, said the government has already received 50 applications from domestic and international investors who want to establish SEZs.
The government published a gazette on setting up SEZs on August 1 last year, he added.
Zafrul Islam, acting country director of World Bank Group, also spoke.