The government is keen to implement a project to develop infrastructures for setting up the Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone (CEIZ) in Anwara, Chittagong to attract more Chinese investment, and spur industrialisation and growth, reports UNB.
The Economic Relations Division (ERD) sent a Letter of Interest to the Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka Li Guangjun on May 9 for implementing the “Infrastructure Development of Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone (CEIZ)” project on government-to-government funding, said an ERD official preferring anonymity.
The official told UNB that Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) under the Prime Minister’s Office will implement the proposed project with an estimated cost of $ 280.71 million with Chinese government’s concessional loan.
The Planning Commission has already approved the Preliminary Development Project Proposal (PDPP) of the project to be completed by June 2020.
The main objectives of the project are to provide a better road connectivity or network to CEIZ through widening roads as well as to improve the capacity of road transportation for heavy vehicles, turn existing road into four-lane highways, ensure safe movement of huge traffic towards Economic Zones with Chittagong Port.
The other major objectives are to introduce a safe water supply system from a proper location to CEIZ, ensure high-tension power line to maintain uninterrupted quality electricity for the CEIZ, protect the nature by construction of Drainage and Sewerage Treatment Plant, and to construct the commercial and administrative spaces for smooth operation of the CEIZ.
Contacted, a BEZA official said BEZA wants to establish some 100 economic zones on 30,000 hectares of land in the next 15 years with a plan to generate employment facilities for some 15 million people.
“BEZA aspires to become a sustainable development driving force and a world class investment promoter and service provider to ensure quality of people’s lives,” added the official.
The BEZA official said BEZA’s mission is to persistently create value for the investors by establishing attractive investment facilities in the economic zones
through one-stop service and competitive investment packages.“It’s necessary to provide basic infrastructure facilities for creating economic zones within the country.”
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided that the processing of the project will follow negotiated tendering.
The proposed project is also listed in the MoU titled “Strengthening Investment and Production Capacity Cooperation” signed between Bangladesh and China during the high-level visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Bangladesh on October 14 last year.
Meanwhile, the BEZA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd (CHEC) in June 2016 to establish the CEIZ Chittagong with Chinese funding.
However, the BEZA is yet to receive any response from China regarding the establishment of the economic zone.
In September 2015, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the “Acquisition of Land for Development of Anwara-2 Economic Zone” for the Chinese investors to facilitate establishment of Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone on 774.25 acres of land in Anwara exclusively for Chinese investors.
The move came after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed such a facility during her visit to China on June 6-11, 2014. The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority also signed an agreement with the Commerce Ministry of China during the visit.
The proposed site is 39km from Chittagong port, 28km from Chittagong city and 46km from Shah Amanat International Airport, Chittagong.