The planned EZ will be an EPZ inside the BSMSN and will be facilitated by all modern and environmentally friendly industrial facilities
Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (Bepza) set to prioritize IT, electronics, spare parts, computer accessories and other industries in accordance with Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in its economic zone under construction Bepza (EZ) in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) in Mirsharai in Chittagong.
According to Bepza, the planned EZ will be an ZFE inside the BSMSN and will be facilitated by all modern and environmentally friendly industrial facilities.
In the first phase, BEPZA is setting up 140 industrial plots out of a total of 539 over an area of 346 acres, the EPZ authority said.
Md Nazrul Islam, Executive Chairman of Bepza, said the world is now in the age of ICT and 4IR has already started. Bangladesh is preparing in the same way.
“We are giving more priority to industries related to computers, computer accessories, lenses, various industrial hardware, and so on. In other words, industries crucial to 4IR get priority here, ”said Nazrul Islam.
The main benefits of creating such industries are that any economic disaster or pandemic like Covid-19 can have less of an impact on these industries, he also said.
“There will also be backlink industries involved with RMG and other sectors, but our main priority is to establish IT-based, diverse and 4IR-aligned industries,” said the president of Bepza.
He also said Bepza would not prioritize clothing factories here, but rather shoe manufacturers and manufacturers of personal protective equipment (PPE).
According to Bepza, there will be 539 industrial plots and 350 industrial units in this BSMSN EPZ.
There will be a separate port and JICA has already taken the initiative to build it.
However, the Bepza EPZ will be completed before the port is established, so it will use the Chittagong port for shipping, as the distance between the project and the port is not too much, Bepza officials revealed.
About 90% of the work of the first phase has already been completed and Bepza is ready to hand over 140 plots.
Once these have been submitted, companies will be able to start building their infrastructure by September or October.
All work will be completed by 2023, where 40% of the total work has already been done, Bepza said.
The total area of this EPZ is 1m150 acres and it is completely different from other EPZs.
“It will be a green industrial zone with nature and productivity where there will be several CETP, WTP, power station, green laboratory, mega kitchen, modern zone service complex, dormitory for officers and personnel, Ansar and security barracks, building security and customs, ”said Nazrul Islam.
He also said that there will be 2,000 housing units for a single foreigner, 1,000 housing units for single women; hotel facilities will also be available for Investors Club investors.
Development works in the Bepza economic zone began in 2018.
The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) has ceded 1,150 acres of land to BSMSN to BEPZA as part of a program held in the capital on Sunday.
EPZs have reduced poverty through job creation and the establishment of upstream and downstream link industries, and created new areas of activity in areas surrounding the estates, Bepza said.
Zahid Hussain, a former senior economist at the World Bank, said Bepza had already set up an economic zone inside BSMSN although there was no need for a separate zone for them.
“But I suggest investigating properly before allocating plots whether the receiver is a genuine investor or not. As an agricultural country, most of our land is arable. These arable lands are acquired for the implementation of such industrial projects, ”he added.
“Now, if the real investors are deprived of allotments, it will be detrimental on both sides. We have already had such bitter experiences in the allocation of BSCIC plots, ”he also said.
However, there are eight EPZs across the country under Bepza and a total of 476 industrial units have been established in EPZs.
EPZ factories have so far attracted $ 8 billion in investment and created around 450,000 jobs across the country and shipped products worth around $ 6.5 billion in the fiscal year 2019-2020.
Besides EPZ in BSMSN, Bepza works with three other EPZs, namely Payra EPZ from Patuakhali, Noapara EPZ from Jessore and Setabganj EPZ from Gaibandha.