Economic zone for Japanese investors gets ECNEC nod

PM asks authorities concerned to give due emphasis on rail and waterways

Published: March 05, 2019 16:54:07 | Updated: March 05, 2019 20:59:36

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presiding over the ECNEC meeting at the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area on Tuesday. -Focus Bangla Photo

The government has initiated a project for setting up an economic zone, dedicated for Japanese investors, at Araihazar in Narayanganj.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project, titled Infrastructure Development for Japanese Economic Zone at Araihazar, involving Tk 25.82 billion.

The approval came from the ECNEC meeting held at the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area on Tuesday.

ECNEC chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting, reports BSS.

Briefing the reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister MA Mannan said that out of the total project cost of Tk 25.82 billion for the Japanese Economic Zone, Taka 4.54 billion will come from the state exchequer.

"The rest of Taka 21.29 billion will be collected as project assistance from Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)," the planning minister added.

Earlier, a decision to set up a special economic zone for Japanese investors was taken during the visits of the Prime Ministers of both Bangladesh and Japan to each other’s country in 2014.

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) will develop land, construct access roads and set up a power plant, sub-station, transmission lines and gas pipelines as implementing agency of the project.

Earlier in 2017, the government took up a Tk 9.91 billion project for land acquisition in Narayanganj and Chattogram.

Under the project, the land acquisition for the Japanese economic zone is going on in Araihazar.

Tuesday's ECNEC meeting approved another project for constructing some 340 bridges on the upazila, union and village roads under 61 districts in all the eight divisions across the country involving an estimated cost of Taka 19.83 billion.

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Local Government Division will implement the project by June, 2023.

The planning minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting asked the authorities concerned to give due emphasis on rail and waterways alongside the roads.

She also reiterated her plan for establishing an integrated communication system across the country comprising roads, railways, waterways and airways.

She asked the authorities concerned to prepare database of the handloom workers in the country and simplify the procedures of loan disbursement to them through allowing them opening of Taka 10 account.

The Prime Minister also asked the Ministries and the authorities concerned to conduct dredging in small rivers across the country to enhance navigability of those rivers.

She also underscored the need for protecting the ponds and water bodies before undertaking any project in the capital.

A total of eight projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 62.76 billion.

“Among the total project cost, Taka 33.14 billion will come from the state exchequer while the rest of Taka 29.62 billion from project assistance,” he said.

All the approved eight projects are fresh projects.

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