Wednesday, 1 February, 2023
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BSEZ can provide investors best possible environment in region: Ito Naoki

Quality infrastructure projects by JICA to enhance Bangladesh's economic opportunities, he says

Outgoing Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki has said the just-launched Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (BSEZ) at Araihazar in Narayanganj will undoubtedly attract investment not only from Japanese companies but also from other international companies.

He said the BSEZ fully meets the international standard in terms of facilities and infrastructure SEZ has to offer.

“I expect more than 100 companies will operate here in the future, with US$ 1.5 billion investment in total. BSEZ can provide prospective investors with the best possible environment in the region,” he said on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina officially opened Bangladesh Special Economic Zone, also known as the “Japanese Economic Zone” at Araihazar in Narayanganj. She joined the event virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban in Dhaka.

There have already been inquiries from approximately 30 Japanese companies and 10 foreign companies looking at the possibility of investing in the BSEZ.

In 2026, Ambassador Naoki said, Bangladesh will graduate from the LDC status and it is a wonderful feat for Bangladesh under this government.

“Then, the country aims to become a developed country in 2041 by achieving Vision 2041. I want to reiterate that Japan will continue to stand by Bangladesh in its development journey and work to build a win-win partnership for our prosperous future,” he said, adding that the success of BSEZ will surely guide them to get there.

The Ambassador said he will return to Japan next week completing his tenure in Dhaka and he put in his best efforts over the last three years for the development of Bangladesh.

“I sincerely hope that the dream of Bangabandhu to build Sonar Bangla and a happy and prosperous country will be realized,” he said.

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Executive Chairman Shaikh Yusuf Harun and President and CEO, Sumitomo Corporation Masayuki Hyodo also spoke.

BSEZ is the first Special Economic Zone in Bangladesh designed and developed by Japanese companies. Eight years have passed since former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shared their intention to cooperate for economic zone development.

“I am delighted that our leaders' intention was finally materialized, overcoming all the challenges we faced, including the Covid-19,” said the Ambassador.

“This is the Japanese Economic Zone. But, BEZA gave the name 'Bangladesh Special Economic Zone (BSEZ).’ I believe BEZA and the government did so with the expectation that it would become the flagship SEZ in Bangladesh,” he said.

Naoki said it will play a pivotal role in boosting FDIs and become a symbol of the growing business partnership between Japan and Bangladesh.

This month, following the opening of BSEZ, Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line 6 will start commercial operation.

MRT Line 1 and Line 5 North will start construction next year in 2023. Then, the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport Expansion of terminal 3 will do a soft-opening next October, said the Japanese Ambassador.

Matarbari Deep Sea Port is also under construction, with the prospect of completion of the Power-plant in 2024, and Bangabandhu Railway Bridge will open in the same year, he said.

These quality infrastructure projects by JICA will transform the nation and significantly enhance Bangladesh's economic opportunities, he said.

The ambassador said Bangladesh needs to continuously address some challenges to improve the business climate and Japan and Bangladesh should join hands to that end.

“It is noteworthy that BSEZ has declared to be a corruption-free SEZ, showing its determination to eliminate corruption for a fair and favorable investment and business environment,” he said.

BEZA Executive Chairman Shaikh Yusuf Harun said the economic zone will help attract US$ 1.5 billion investment and create employment opportunities for over 100,000 people.

Sumitomo Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Masayuki Hyodo said this economic zone is so special and is strongly supported by the two governments and private sectors.

“We have more than 30 years of experience in this business and we have been actively engaged in various infrastructure projects in Bangladesh,” said the President and CEO of the Corporation.

Hyodo said they have been contributing to Bangladesh for sustainable economic development and prosperity.