Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday inaugurated 65 uplift schemes including 24 economic zones, opening up a new horizon in industrialisation and employment for country’s overall development. The country is now standing at a crucial juncture in its economic development. The World Bank on Thursday officially confirmed that Bangladesh is among the world’s five fastest-growing economies. So, needless to mention that establishment of more special economic zones (SEZs) that will attract more local and foreign investments will rapidly accelerate GDP growth.
Today’s business world is rapidly changing and becoming increasingly competitive. In this context, special economic zones act as a positive factor. SEZ is a development concept which offers attractive facilities and business-friendly laws for setting up industries. This concept has been successfully implemented in many emerging economies such as China, Vietnam, Malaysia and India to woo investors in export-oriented industries.In this regard, the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority deserves credit for taking the right move. It has a plan to establish 100 economic zones in the country within 15 years, which will create 10 million jobs, increase Bangladesh’s annual export earnings to $40 billion and investment to $20 billion by 2021.
It is encouraging that over a dozen private companies, including the country’s largest business conglomerate Bashundhara Group, have come forward to build private economic zone.
There are, however, some concerns such as shortage of utility service and lengthy investment procedures which are clear bottlenecks to investment. Besides, there is need for keeping the country’s political landscape calm and peaceful, maintaining law and order and cutting bureaucratic red tape to present an investment-friendly environment to both local and foreign investors.
All necessary measures should be taken to make sure that the SEZs in the pipeline come to fruition. If so, it will transform the face of Bangladesh.
However, while inaugurating the ground works of the new SEZs Prime Minister gave some very important directives. She made it clear that she is in favour of industrialisation but not at the cost of agriculture. She also alerted the industrialists about the human cost of industrialisation. BEZA should ensure full compliance with the PM’s instructions.