Process of setting up 20 SEZs starts March 2012
CHITTAGONG: The process of setting up 20 special economic zones (SEZs) across the country, including one proposed at Mirsarai and another along Sandwip Channel in Chittagong will start by March 2012. Mohammad Nazmul Islam, Director General (DG) of Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) at the Prime Minister’s Office, disclosed this at a discussion meeting here in the port city on Thursday.
BEZA at the PMO and Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) jointly organised the meeting at CCCI auditorium.
Addressing the meeting, Nazmul said the conception of SEZs is different and larger than that of export processing zones and industrial parks as the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority enjoys the authority of exempting tax, ensure IT park, logistics, ports and all kinds of infrastructural facilities in the zone.
Fourteen suitable places have already been selected primarily to set up the SEZs. The economic zones will be set up keeping the interests of local industries and business entrepreneurs unharmed, said DG Nazmul.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s sincerity about flourishing industrial sector he sought cooperation from all concerned in implementing the SEZs.
Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund Programme Manager Martin Norman was the keynote speaker at the meeting with CCCI President Murshed Murad Ibrahim in the chair.
Martin Norman said in his keynote speech said that around 1.5 million people would be employed in about 1,500 companies to be set up in twenty economic zones of the country by 2021.
“Around 85 per cent of the export-oriented industries of the country will be located in these economic zones,” added Norman saying that export business of around US dollar 2.5 billion will take place per year in these zones..
Sheikh Mohammad Ahbul Ahad, director of BEZA at the PMO, CCCI immediate past president MA Latif MP, former president Ali Ahmed, CCCI senior vice-president Mahbubul Alam, directors MA Salam, Mazharul Islam Chowdhury, Mahfuzul Hoque Shah, Captain Shafi Chaudhuri, Honorary Consul of Japan Nurul Islam, additional deputy commissioner Ehsan-e-Elahi, Export Promotion Bureau (EPB)’s director Abdul Moin, Board of Investment director Mahbub Kabir, Chittagong Export Processing Zone Authority’s general manager SM Abdur Rashid, Karnaphuli Export Processing Zone Authority’s general manager Khorshed Alam, Chittagong WASA chief engineer Abdul Karim Chowdhury and Chittagong Steel Re-rolling Mills Owners Association president Jafar Alam spoke at the meeting.
Referring to the importance of industrialisation for economic growth of a country the speakers regretted that only one Export Processing Zone could be developed in Chittagong that failed to meet the demand of the investors from home and abroad.
They emphasised on developing of new industrial zones to play a vital role in solving employment problem along side contributing to the overall economy of the country.
They also underscored the need for ensuring uninterrupted gas supply in Chittagong along with setting up of proper rules and regulations for a planned economic zone.
A technical session involving the concerned specialists and stakeholders in four groups for drafting rules and regulations was held after the roundtable discussion.