Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA) is developing an industrial city titled ‘Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN)’ in the country's southeastern part with a view to encouraging rapid economic development through increase and diversification of industry, employment, production and export. The industrial city is being developed on around 30,000 acres of land touching three upazilas- Mirsarai, Sitakundu and Sonagazi- under Chattogram and Feni districts respectively. It is located at the estuary of the Feni River covering 25 kilometers of coast lines of Sandeep channel of the Bay of Bengal. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid the foundation stone of the EZ on February 28, 2016.
BEZA is in the process of developing a comprehensive master plan including incorporating sea port, rail connectivity, marine drive, residential area, tourism park, power plant, hospital, school and university for developing this self-contained industrial city. Various types of industries, including garments and its supporting industries, agro-products and agro-processing products, integrated textiles, leather and leather goods, shipbuilding, motorbike assembly, food and beverage, pint and chemical, paper and products, plastics, light engineering (including auto-parts and bicycles), pharmaceutical products, power and solar park will be set up in the industrial city. The city is expected to create employment opportunities for 1.5 million people within next 15 years and ensure US$15 billion export from this industrial enclave.BEZA Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar is one of the most suitable sites for setting up industrial establishments in the country. He said, it is along the strategic location of Dhaka-Chattogram industrial corridor as business and living cost are significantly lower at Mirsarai as well as in Chattogram division than other developing cities in the world. With a high quality business friendly environment, it has positive impacts and contributions in shaping Chattogram into a leading regional business hub, he said. He expressed his optimism that the BSMSN, the first planned city of the country, would pave the way to establish a truly world-class business and industrial center.
Though the industrial city is in the development stage, BEZA has already allocated 3,927 acres among 45 business houses and their proposed investment is around $12.45 billion and proposed employment opportunities is approximately 1.41 lakh. Another 10 business houses are waiting for getting allotment.
Among the industries allotted business houses, Arman Haque Denim, has already laid their foundation stones for setting up factories.
SNR Tawfiq, Managing Director of the Arman Haque Denim said, their business house has set a plan to start its operation from December 2019 in the BSMSN. Tawfiq said, the industry will ensure internationally complaint green Global Composite Denim production facility. It will produce almost 10.8 million meter of assorted Denim fabric per year. “We have selected the Mirsarai Economic Zone for the industry as the zone is one of the most suitable sites in the country along the strategic Dhaka-Chattogram industrial corridor,” he said.
The Denim’s managing director said, the industrial city will assure sovereign guarantee on utilities, power and stability. With a large number of RMG factories being set up in the zone, it also provides a ready market at close proximity for Arman Haque Denims, he added. Thanking the government, he said, they will get all facilities at one place through the industrial park which will create employment opportunities for the country’s people as well as developing businesses. Arman Haque Denim will set up the industry on 10 acres of land with investing around Taka 300 crore to meet the increasing demand of denim products in European countries and the USA.
As the global demand for denim clothing has been increasing at an annual rate of 9 per cent while in the USA, almost 70 per cent of the population wear denim products regularly, to catch the global market, Denim exporters can invest in the economic zones.At present, Bangladesh alone has 30 denim mills involving a financial outlay of about US$1 billion. The country has overtaken China to become the number one denim goods supplier to the countries of the European Union. In the US market, Bangladesh now stands at the third position after China and Mexico.
To achieve countries rapid economic development through diversification of industries and augmentation of employment, production and export, BEZA has till now got approval to establish 88 economic zones across the country. Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar is one of the biggest EZ hubs among them which have already become a focus of interest of local and foreign investors. In addition, government has planned to establish 100 economic zones in all potential regions-including backward and underdeveloped regions by 2030 to create 10 million new jobs and fetch additional annual export to US$40 billion. The government has already enacted 'Bangladesh Economic Zones Act' in 2016 to facilitate these zones. To augment investment in the private sectors, the government has also approved 'Bangladesh Private Economic Zone Policy, 2015'. Under this policy, the private EZs are being approved and established to attract investment in various sectors. BEZA offers a range of one-stop services, tax incentives and allowances to the investors.
Bangladesh is now marching towards prosperity. To reach the GDP growth in double digit, these economic zones will work as engine of economic development. As on June 2018 investors from 38 countries including Japan, South Korea, U.S.A, UK, China, UAE among others have already invested in the EPZs of Bangladesh. With the local and international investment in economic zones, ample job opportunity will be generated with more production. There will be diversification of exports. Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar along with other EZs will help to build the 'Sonar Bangla' as dreamt by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman through the development of our industry and economy.