By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, July 10 (IANS) The economic zone of Bangladesh dedicated to Indian investors is set to avail $115 million under the third credit line from India. Md. Moniruzzaman, Joint Secretary and General Manager, Investment Promotion of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has confirmed to IANS.
Based on the government-to-government deal, the proposed zone spreading over 1,000 acres of land is being developed by the Indian conglomerate Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited. The Bangladesh Prime Ministers’s Office (PMO) had approved Adani as a developer early this year.
The BEZA, an investment promotion agency under the PMO, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian government for developing the zone in June 2015.
New economic zones in Bangladesh have already attracted a good number of foreign investors. The Indian investment is confirmed for another economic zone at the Mongla port , said Moniruzzaman.
The Indian government has recently given approval in principle for financing the zone for its investors on June 11.
Moniruzzaman said the finalisation of some essential infrastructure facilities, including 24 km embankment, seven sluice gates, and power plants in the industrial city has made it a coveted investment destination.
The project to be developed as part of Bangladesh’s flagship industrial city Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Mirsarai of Chattogram has already been approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) .
Currently, final negotiation is taking place involving a joint venture agreement between the BEZA and an Indian zone developer, he confirmed.
According to BEZA documents, a move is now underway to employ project management consultants under the project. To this effect, necessary documents were sent to the Indian Exim Bank on June 23.
India has extended three lines of credit to Bangladesh amounted to $8.0 billion since 2010, according to official data. During Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to the India in April 2017, India extended the third credit line worth $ 4.5 billion.
The latest credit line is meant to cover projects in the areas of port construction, railways, roads, airports, power and energy, telecommunications, shipping, etc.
The development project, approved by the ECNEC in April 2019, was scheduled to be implemented between April 2019 and June 2021.
The total cost for the zone’s infrastructure development has been fixed at $109.74 million or nearly Tk 9.19 billion. Of this, $109.11 million will be mobilised under the third package.
For FY 2020-2021, Bangladesh’s annual development programme or ADP has allocated Tk 403.4 million for the zone construction. Of the allocation, Tk 395.1 million will be mobilised under the third lending package.
The source said, once operational, the proposed country-specific zone is expected to create employment for nearly 0.1 million people and attract more than US $2.0 billion investment.
The Indian zone will receive a good response for its suitable location next to Sandwip Channel and connected via a four-lane road with the Dhaka-Chattagram highway, which is considered to be the economic lifeline of Bangladesh.