By Sumi Khan
Dhaka, July 10 (IANS) The special economic zone of Bangladesh dedicated to Indian investors is set to avail $115 million under the 3rd line of credit from India, a senior official said.
Mohd. Moniruzzaman, the Joint Secretary and General Manager, Investment Promotion, of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), confirmed the development to IANS.
Based on the government-to-government deal, the proposed SEZ, spread over 1,000 acres in port city Chattogram, is being developed by Indian conglomerate Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. The Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office approved Adani as a developer early this year. The BEZA, which comes under the PMO, had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Indian government for developing the zone in June 2015.
New special economic zones in Bangladesh have already attracted a good number of foreign investors, Moniruzzaman said. He also revealed that Indian investment has also been confirmed for another SEZ at Mongla port.
The Indian government has recently given approval in principle for financing the zone for its investors on June 11.
The ongoing SEZ, to be developed as part of Bangladesh’s flagship industrial city Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Mirsarai of Chattogram, was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in April last year. It was scheduled to be implemented between April 2019 and June 2021.
Moniruzzaman said the finalisation of some essential infrastructure facilities, including a 24-km-long embankment, seven sluice gates, and power plants at the industrial city has made it a coveted investment destination.
Currently, the final negotiation is taking place involving the joint venture agreement between the BEZA and the Indian zone developer, he said.
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 India’s Exim Bank on June 23.
The total cost for the zone’s infrastructure development has been fixed at $109.74 million or nearly 9.19 billion takas. Of this, $109.11 million will be mobilised under the third package.
India has extended three lines of credit to Bangladesh amounting to $8 billion since 2010, according to official data. During Bangladesh Prime Minister’s visit to India in April 2017, India extended the third credit line worth $4.5 billion, meant to cover projects in the areas of port construction, railways, roads, airports, power and energy, telecommunications, shipping, etc.
For FY 2020-2021, Bangladesh’s annual development programme has allocated 403.4 million takas for the zone’s construction.
Of the allocation, 395.1 million takas 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 $2 billion investment.
The Indian zone will receive good response for its suitable location next to Sandwip Channel and connection, via a four-lane road, with the Dhaka-Chattogram highway, which is considered to be the economic lifeline of Bangladesh.