The building of 20 special economic zones (SEZs) will be completed by 2018 as about 40 per cent work there have been completed so far, officials said.
"About 40 per cent of the construction work of SEZs has been completed. We are hopeful that the rest of the work will be done by the end of 2018," general manager (GM) of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) Mostaque Hassan told the FE on Thursday.
He said the construction work was carried out separately by the government and the private sector in 20 such zones.
The SEZs, the construction work of which has been overseen by the private sector, are two at Mongla in Bagerhat, three at Mirershorai in Chittagong, two at Teknaf in Cox's Bazar, one at Sonargaon in Narayanganj and two at Gomati of Munshiganj and one at Moulvibazar.
The construction work in the rest of 10 SEZs has been going on under the supervision of the government.
The government has fixed a target to build 100 SEZs on 75,000 acres of land in different areas of the country, which will be developed by the government or under the public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements.
Apart from the 20 SEZs, the government has offered land to the Chinese entrepreneurs for building an SEZ at Anwara in Chittagong.
Besides, India will develop two SEZs at Mongla of Khulna and Bheramara in Kushtia.
The government has set a target to turn Bangladesh into a middle income country by 2021.
And to reach that goal, the country needs huge local and foreign investments.
To attract investment, the country needs to build more SEZs with uninterrupted supplies of gas, power and water.
Bangladesh aims to earn US$ 60 billion from exports by 2021. To reach that target both local and foreign investments are much necessary. And without it the growth of exports would not be increased.
Mr Hassan said that 22 more private companies have applied to the BEZA for developing such economic zones.
About the land price at the SEZs, he said that the government is aware of it and is committed to providing lands to the entrepreneurs at SEZs at the cheapest possible rate.
Local private entrepreneurs have long been demanded availability of lands at reasonable prices.
They have been calling upon the government to provide uninterrupted supplies of gas, water and power to their industries for maintaining smooth industrial productivity.
The BEZA official said that they discussed these issues with the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) on Thursday.
He said that the FBCCI also demanded the government allocate lands to the businessmen at reasonable prices at the SEZs, ensuring uninterrupted supplies of gas, water and electricity.
"The government is committed to providing business-friendly environment to the local and foreign businessmen to facilitate their businesses," he said.
He said the local and foreign entrepreneurs will get lands at SEZs at "reasonable" prices.