A discussion meeting was held recently between the World Bank’s Feasibility Study Team on Special Economic Zones and the Board of Directors and the Members of Dutch-Bangla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DBCCI) in a city hotel. The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) of Prime Minister’s Office engaged the Feasibility Study Team to assess viability of setting up economic zones in 3 three selected locations, namely, Sherpur of Sylhet division, Mirereshorai and Anwara of Chittagong division. The feasibility study is supported by the “Private Sector Development Support Project” of the World Bank.
Mr. Sumiyuki Otsuki, Marketing Expert along with Mr. Chinpal Raunair, Transport Expert discussed various aspects of the study. Mr. A. K. M. Alamgir, Senior Vice President chaired the session and Mr. M. Zakir Hossain, Secretary General of DBCCI and Chief Executive of Young Consultants moderated the session.
DBCCI members who attended and took part in the discussion include Mr. Khandokar Mokarram Hossain, Founder President, Mr. M. Hasan Khaled, Founder Secretary General, Mr. Osama Taseer, Former Secretary General, Mr. Ataus Sopan Malik of A. R. Malik & Company, Mr. A.K Chowdhury of Hoda Vasi Chowdhury & Co, Mr. Giasuddin Ahmed of Thai Poly Shawn (Bd.) Ltd , Mr. Asifur Rahman of Bay Agro Industries Ltd. , Mr. Harun-Ar-Rashid Khan of Sun Aun Limited, Mr. Quazi Md. Emdadul Haque of Lal Teer Livestock., Mr. Md. Sakhawat Hossain of Green Valley Agro Complex Ltd.
The Members present stressed a number of issues while considering development of any special economic zone in Bangladesh that aims to promote local and foreign investment. Among the issues, special single-digit financing schemes for rapid and smooth industrialization of Bangladesh, inclusion of Dutch government’s technical assistance in establishing required infrastructure like dikes, multimodal transports network, inland port and water managements under ORIO program, exploration of new gas fields to adequate supply of gas for new industrial enclaves, support for skilled manpower development, setting up special SEZ in northern part for agro-based industries, etc. Members also expressed their concern about the availability of sufficient lands for establishing industries and as such, suggested considering reclamation of land beyond the three sites being assessed for future and also proposed that the Government of Netherlands may be approached at certain stage of implementation for technical assistance as they are a specialized country in land reclamation. In reply to a question about the kind of preferred industries in three locations, the Members emphasized on agro-based industries.
The World Bank expert team in their speech thanked the DBCCI for providing valuable information relating to SEZ development that would be useful while accomplishing the studies towards establishing Economic Zone in Bangladesh. DBCCI Members warmly welcome any further discussion on this issue in near future and requested to share the findings of the study with DBCCI once it is completed.