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Dhaka Tribune

Zone for Chinese investors to get foundation stone

Update : 14 Oct 2016, 02:41 AM
A feasibility study on the project and the acquisition of the 313.23 hectare land needed for the zone have already been completed. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Chinese President Xi Jinping are set to lay the foundation stone of the project, formally known as Anwara 2 Economic Zone, through a video conference in the capital today. As per a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on June 16 this year, state-owned firm China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) was appointed to develop the site, which is 39km from the Chittagong Port, 28km from Chittagong city and 46km from Shah Amanat International Airport. “The zone will accommodate 150-200 industrial units including ship-building, pharmaceuticals, electronics, agro-based, IT, chemical, power and textile and textile accessories,” Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune. “We hope that the first government-to-government initiative for establishing an exclusive economic zone will create a congenial business atmosphere for luring Chinese companies, generate employment and spur economic activities. “As per the agreement, Chinese investors will get preference in the economic zone. Other local and foreign can also invest,” he said. Of the proposed land for the economic zone, 117.8 hectares belong to the government. The Chittagong district administration is working to acquire the rest from private land owners. The move to set up the zone was undertaken soon after Sheikh Hasina’s visit to China in 2014. In September last year, Ecnec approved the proposal for the Chinese economic and industrial zone. “We have already handed over 291 acres of land to BEZA. Acquisition of the rest of the land from private land owners is under way. The mammoth project has already commenced with the construction of the main road to the site,” said Goutam Baroi, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Anwara. BEZA Executive Chairman Paban said that the establishment of the exclusive economic zone would be a milestone for Bangladesh and open up a new window of foreign investment opportunity for the country. He said that it would take minimum two years to complete the project. Business community leaders expressed optimism that economic activities in Chittagong would get a boost through the establishment of the exclusive industrial zone. Moinuddin Ahmed, the first vice-president of BGMEA, told the Dhaka Tribune that the establishment of an exclusive economic zone in the region was the fulfilment of a long-felt demand. “It will definitely help achieve our export target of $50 billion by the end of 2021. “The high-tech industrialisation has led to a serious labourer crisis in China. Consequently, the cost of production has gone up due to wage hike. Perhaps China is now planning to relocate their labour-intensive industries to other low-wage countries like Bangladesh,” Moinuddin added.
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