Bangladesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Chinese counterpart to establish first economic-industrial zone in the country that will be developed under government-to-government (G2G) category.
The economic zone styled Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone (CEIZ) will be set up on a 774-acre of land in Anwara Upazila in Chittagong.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury and China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) Vice President Bai Yinzhan on Thursday signed the MoU at a function in a city hotel.
As per the MoU, the Chinese government nominated firm CHEC to develop the economic zone that is designed exclusively for Chinese investors.
Under this MoU, both the parties will form special purpose companies (SPC) for next 50 years with scope of expansion to materialise the process on equity basis, Paban Chowdhury said. Chinese counterpart will undertake all development works to materialise the zone.
“You will be having a mini China in Bangladesh once the economic zone is completed,” said Paban.
The move for setting up an exclusive economic zone for Chinese investors was undertaken soon after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had made such a pledge during her visit to China in 2014.
In September 2015, Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the proposal for establishing an exclusive economic and industrial zone for Chinese investors.
Later on May 30, 2016, Finance Division released over Tk420 crore funds under the revised annual development programme (RADP) of the outgoing fiscal year 2015-16 to establish the economic and industrial zone for the Chinese investors known as Anwara-II Economic Zone.
The proposed site of the zone is 39 kilometres from Chittagong port, 28 kilometres from Chittagong city and 46 kilometres from Shah Amanat International Airport.
Once established, the zone will accommodate around 400 factories that will attract around US$2 billion Chinese investment within three years. It will also create new jobs for over 1.5lakh people.
Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary Md Abul Kalam Azad termed the MoU for first G2G economic zone as a milestone and hoped that the CHEC will ensure Chinese investment by completing development of the zone by time.
Secretary of Prime Minister’s Office Suraiya Begum, China Harbour Engineering Company Vice-President Bai Yinzhan, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese embassy in Bangladesh Yang Shichao, Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) President Md Siddiqur Rahman, BEZA executive member (investment promotion) Muhammad Abdus Samad also spoke, among others,
The government has a target to set up 100 economic zones over 30,000 hectares of land is expected to generate employment of about 10 million people, along with additional export of $40 billion per year.