BEZA plans to create 1C new jobs in 100 EZs

The economic zones will help export products worth an additional $40 billion 

By launching 100 Economic Zones (EZ), Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) plans to create 1 crore new jobs by 2030.

Through this BEZA expects to add another $40 billion to the country's export sector.

This was stated by M Erfan Sharif, executive member of BEZA in the keynote presentation of the first technical session of the opening day of Investment Summit 2021 on Sunday.

In his presentation Erfan said that: “The government of Bangladesh has taken the initiative to establish 100 Economic Zones across the country by 2030. Through this, we are expecting that one crore new jobs will be created.  On top of that, it will raise our exports by an additional $40 billion.”

He also informed that so far 97 sites have been earmarked by BEZA and they also expect four new economic zones will start very soon. The EZs are located in Narayanganj, Nawabganj, Gopalganj and Bogra.

At the first session, “Economic Zone: Exceeding All Expectations,” Speaking as the chairperson, Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury said: "Our economy is moving forward under the direction of the prime minister.

“One of our main goals is to establish 100 economic zones within the country by 2030 to further consolidate the economy. This will directly help increase export earnings and besides, if these are established, a lot of new jobs will be created in each zone.”

The land minister also said: “Foreign investors are now keen to invest in Bangladesh and foreign direct investment is growing fast due to the government’s policy support for investment.”

“The time has come for the nation to feel proud because of the economic growth. The IMF in a recent study disclosed that Bangladesh is among the top five countries in terms of resilience shown during the Covid pandemic,” he added.

Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman, executive chairman of Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), said: “The country’s EPZs contributed almost 30% to the country’s GDP in the last fiscal year, while approximately $38.75 billion were earned from goods exports last year.”

“With 40 years of experience in investment-friendly policy support, BEPZA has been offering facilities to foreign investors,” he added.

IBCCI President Abdul Matlub Ahmad moderated the session.

The World Bank's Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan South Asia Region Dr Mercy Miyang Tembon, Yuho Hayakawa, chief representative of JICA Bangladesh, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce, Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman, executive chairman of Bepza and ASM Mainuddin Monem also spoke at the session.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the two-day summit.

Inaugurating the two-day International Investment Summit-2021 in Dhaka on Sunday, she expressed confidence that the country would be able to attract the desired investment through this conference.

“I believe that through this conference, investors will be able to learn more about the potential of these sectors in Bangladesh. A new market for Bangladeshi products will be created in the world and Bangladesh will be able to attract the desired investment,” she said as she addressed the opening session at Radisson Blu Water Garden Hotel virtually from her Ganabhaban residence.

“I believe investors will be able to learn more about the potential of different investment sectors in Bangladesh through this conference,” she also added.

The prime minister said: “Foreign investors can invest in a number of sectors such as ICT, pharmaceutical, agro-processing, light engineering and automobile sectors, and the blue economy in addition to the apparel sector.”

Calling Bangladesh a role model for development she said the country has done a great job in securing economic progress.

Salman F Rahman, the prime minister's private industry and investment adviser, said at the inauguration event that the investment summit aims to brand the country towards foreign investors.

Representatives of different countries including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, China, India and Japan spoke at the inaugural ceremony of the summit and expressed their willingness to invest further in Bangladesh in the coming days.

To explore investment opportunities in Bangladesh, a number of high-level delegations from different countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United States and Turkey, have already reached Dhaka, according to officials concerned.

BIDA Executive Chairman Md Sirazul Islam said: “So far, 2,574 people, including 465 foreigners, from 54 countries have already registered for the event.”

“Many high-level delegates from different countries have taken part in the event in person while many others will join the event virtually,” he added.

The summit will highlight 11 sectors to attract investments, with the tagline 'Bangladesh: Discover Limitless Opportunities'-- featured plenary sessions on the country's economic zones, blue economy, 4IR, pharmaceuticals, transport, capital market, energy, financial services, agribusiness, leather, RMG and electrical and electronics, and plastic goods.

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