PM Hasina opens operation of Japanese Economic Zone
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday inaugurated the operation of the Japanese Economic Zone in Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (BSEZ) at Araihazar in Narayanganj district on the outskirts of the capital.
The prime minister virtually opened the economic zone from her official residence, Ganabhaban, in the capital.
The economic zone would draw investment of over US $1.5 billion once it goes into full operation while it has generated employment of over 100,000 people initially.
The vision to establish an EZ dedicated to Japan began in 2014, when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited that country.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) undertook the initiative to conduct the feasibility study in 2016. Later in 2019, Sumitomo Corporation from Japan inked the deal with the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to develop the BSEZ.
Renowned companies like Singer have already started construction of their infrastructures at the economic zone while an agreement has also been signed with German company Rudolf.
Agreements will be signed with two more Japanese investors after the inaugural programme, while 30 more Japanese firms and 10 other firms of different countries have shown their interest to invest in that economic zone.
The Singer would make an initial investment of $79 million while chemical company Rudolf would make an initial investment of $7 million.
Land acquisition to set up the Japanese Economic Zone-2 have been completed while a proposal is also awaiting nod from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for setting up another special economic zone dedicated to the Chinese investors.
BEZA executive chairman Shaikh Yusuf Harun earlier expressed very much optimism on restoring the import of LNG soon adding that the government is scrutinizing the possibility of allowing import of LNG by the private sector.
The government has requested the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to set up skilled development centres at Araihazar in Narayanganj and at Mirersarai in Chattogram.
In the countrywide five economic zones, till date, some 177 investors have made an overall investment proposal of $22,173.177 million aiming to create employment opportunities for some 816,541 people.
These five economic zones are Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) at Mirersarai, Jamalpur Economic Zone, Sabrang Tourism Park, Moheshkhali Economic Zone-3 (Dhalghata) and Srihotto Economic Zone.
Besides, around $4 billion has already been invested at the private economic zones creating employment opportunities for some 35,000 people.
The industrial park will get a dedicated one stop service (OSS) centre and a skill development centre.
Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh ITO Naoki and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sumitomo Corporation Group Masayuki Hyodo spoke at the function.
The BEZA executive chairman gave the address of welcome.
A video documentary on activities of the Bangladesh Economic Zones was screened on the occasion.