With lands saturated, BEPZA regretting new proposals
Published : Monday, 04 February 2013
Despite having potentiality of attracting a large amount of migrating foreign investments, Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) is regretting new proposals due to land crisis in its EPZs.
BEPZA Executive Chairman Maj Gen KM Mominur Rahman, while talking to the FE, said almost cent per cent of the lands in eight EPZs under the BEPZA are fulfilled; as a result it cannot approve large-scale foreign investment proposals.
He said in last six months BEPZA has regretted more than US$ 15 million worth local and foreign investment proposals and still they are having discussion on 17 proposals and all of them may not get final nod as land is not enough within the BEPZA.
According to a source at BEPZA, due to high wages in China and in other Asian countries a large amount of investments are going to be shifted to low-wage countries and Bangladesh's potentiality for attracting such migrating investments is high.
Per worker wage in China may exceed $ 500 by the year 2014 whereas in Bangladesh per worker wage is still $ 60-65 only. To tap this immense potentiality Bangladesh has to develop more lands or go for extension of the existing areas in some EPZs.
The BEPZA executive chairman said there are still 1,000 acres of land behind the Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ) and if the government develops this land, big-scale investments could be made by its optimum use through high-value technology-based products.
The government has formed Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to develop lands and invite both the local and foreign investments.
A source inside the BEZA said, "We are yet to speed up our operation and are trying to start our job in full swing."
He said a lot of activities are ahead of the BEZA as the government has decided that its next land development for foreign investment would be through this new concept.
A source inside BEPZA said development of lands by BEZA will take a long time as they are still in a particular shape.
He said there are large lands in Moulvibazar of Sylhet and at Mohori Project in Chittagong. He said if this land can be developed within a short span of time, Bangladesh can receive the current migrating foreign investments.
BEZA Acting Chairman Mohammad Abul Kashem said the operation of BEZA is fully under the Prime Minister's Office and it is decided that this new concept is designed for both the local and foreign investors.
The BEPZA executive chairman said to mitigate the current land crisis for small and high technology-based foreign investments the Prime Minister has given order for vertical expansion of one and two-storey buildings to maximum four-storey ones.
BEPZA still holds only less than ten per cent unused lands and they are trying to use such land only for high technology-based foreign investments.
"We are taking back the plots from the sick industries and also from the investors who are leaving the plots unutilised", he said.
According to statistics available from the EPZs, currently all the world's famous brands are being manufactured here in Bangladesh.
Workers are now technically equipped and they are using high technological equipment and their knowledge could be used in any other high technology-based foreign investments.
The data also shows that still the management is fully dominated by the Sri Lankan workers.
An official inside the BEPZA said within next few years local workers will take the lead in management and the women who are being trained in the government's women training institutes would also show their excellence at the factories located in EPZs.
Editor : Moazzem Hossain,
Published by the Editor for International Publications Limited from Tropicana Tower (4th floor), 45, Topkhana Road, GPO Box : 2526 Dhaka- 1000 and printed by him from City Publishing House Ltd., 1 RK Mission Road, Dhaka-1000.