Govt eyes more foreign investment at 3 EPZs

Inter-ministerial meet today
Govt eyes more foreign investment at 3 EPZs
Asif Showkat

Finance Ministry will sit today to find ways to implement cabinet decision on waiving interest of bank loans for foreign investors, reducing charges of port along with full operation of two airports at Syedpur and Khulna.

The government is actively considering these to attract more investment for country’s three Export Promotion Zones (EPZs). The three EPZs are – Mongla, Uttara and Ishwardi, official sources said.

As per the decision, the concern authority will relax the conditions for electricity and gas connections to prospective foreign-funded enterprises.

An inter-ministerial meeting at finance ministry will also finalise several initiatives to increase the foreign investment of the three EPZs. The decisions came at a recent board meeting of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones (BEPZs).

Finance secretary Mohammad Tariq will preside over the meeting.

Bangladesh Bank governor Dr Atiur Rahman, banking division secretary Shafiqur Rahman Patwary, chairman of the National Board of Revenue Dr Nasiruddin Ahmed, secretary of civil aviation and tourism, shipping secretary, executive chairman of BEPZs and director general of finance division monitoring cell will also attend the meeting.

Sources in finance ministry said the foreign investment has declined over the years due to lack of government facilities among the three EPZs.

Besides, due to lack of infrastructure, most of entrepreneurs who bought plants from the three EPZs are facing difficulties to run factories and invest more money.

Today’s meeting will also finalise recommendations of the BEPZ’s 31st board meeting, monitoring cell of the finance ministry has already taken opinions from the NBR and the Bangladesh Bank.

Bangladesh Bank will reduce bank loan interest if prospective investors are interested to invest in three EPZs. They will get 50 percent reduction in export and import charges through Mongla port.

Ishwardi EPZ investors will get 12 percent interest credit from the Basic Bank and interest of CC loan credit will be 15 percent while interest of loan from the Social Islamic Bank Limited will be 13 percent.

Interest of credit will be reduced according to the negotiation with the prospective investors of the three EPZs, according to the recommendations of Bangladesh Bank.

Interest of export sector loan will be 7 percent, which will be given prospective investors of three EPZs, according to the BB policy.

Civil Aviation Ministry will complete construction of Khulna Khan Jahan Ali Airport at Khulna while it will also run full operation of Ishwardi airport.

Prospective investors of three EPZs want to start online banking operation along with the NBR custom house operation through automation near EPZ areas, according to the recommendations.

Eight EPZs are presently at operation across the country. These are Chittagong, Dhaka, Mongla, Ishwardi, Commilla, Uttara, Adamjee and Karnaphu under BEPZ authority.

The investors from 35 countries have already invested in eight EPZs.


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