Eight new Economic Zones in the offing

The government plans to set up eight new Economic Zones in six districts trying to attract domestic and foreign investment, Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) sources said.

They said three of the EZs would be set up by the private sector and the rest by the government.

Paban Chowdhury, Executive Chairman of BEZA, said, “The new Economic Zones, approved by primary selection committee, will require final approval by the BEZA board of directors.”

“Some more zones are waiting for the approval of primary selection committee,” he said without elaborating.

“The main objective of setting up Economic Zones is to allow industries to come up in a planned way so that they face no scarcity of land but the environment remains free from pollution,” he noted.

According to sources, the eight economic zones will be located at Dohar in Dhaka (316 acres), Chunarughat in Habiganj (511 acre), Jajira (CHECK THIS NAME) (525 acres), Gosairhat in Shariatpur (265 acrex), Teknaf in Cox’s Bazar (750 acres), two at Sonargoan in Narayangonj(80 and 245 acres) and Rampal in Bagerhat (300 acres).

Sonargaon and Rampal EZs will be established under private sector.
Both foreign and local investors are showing interest to set up Economic Zone and the government is taking necessary steps in this regard, another BEZA sources said.

Earlier, the governing body headed by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved a total of 22 sites. Five of them were selected in 2012 while the rest in February last.

Of the 22, three came from private sector — AK Khan Private Economic Zone in Narsingdi and Abdul Monem Private Economic Zone and Garment Shilpa Park in Munshiganj.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith in his budget speech on June 4 said that the government has plan to establish 100 Economic Zones across the country in next 15 years to raise export earnings by $40 billion and create employment for some 10 million people.

The BEZA has so far approved the proposals for 22 economic zones, with construction set to begin at Mongla, Anwara, Mirsorai in Chittagong, Moulvibazar and Cox’s Bazar.

Investors in these industrial sites will be able to manufacture goods to cater to both the domestic and foreign markets.

National Board of Revenue (NBR) says investors in the Economic Zones will get a full tax waiver on incomes in the first three years, after which the benefits will progressively decline.

For instance, investors will get 80 per cent tax waiver in the fourth year of commercial production, with the tax breaks declining by 10 per cent each year to touch at 20 per cent in the 10th year, said the official. The tax benefit will be phased out in the 11th year.

Apart from the benefits, the companies will also get tax exemptions on declared dividends from the beginning of commercial operation.

Foreign technicians appointed to the factories inside economic zones will get a 50 per cent tax waiver on their incomes in the first three years of their arrival in Bangladesh.