The Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) has already submitted a draft proposal for the ‘Patuakhali Export Processing Zone’ to the Planning Commission.
The project, worth an estimated Tk 14.75 billion, will be completed in 2026, according to the draft proposal.
“The foreign companies that are currently doing business in different EPZs across Bangladesh have expressed their interest in investing in the region if proper infrastructure is in place,” said Nazma Binte Alamgir, a spokeswoman for BEPZA.
“After the Padma Bridge was constructed, we spoke to them and found they were interested in investing in the [south-western] region. We took up the project as a result.”
The export processing zone (EPZ) will be set up across 411 acres of land in the Sadar Upazila’s Auliapur Union and seven acres of land in Kuakata. The EPZ will house 306 industrial plots.
The project will create employment for almost 100,000 people in the riverine areas of Patuakhali, and the authorities are eyeing an investment of $1.5 billion to that end. BEPZA also aims to export goods worth $1.84 billion per year.
“We have already prepared the primary proposal and submitted it to the Planning Commission. It will be presented to the Primary Evaluation Committee of the Industrial Power Division soon,” said Nazma.
“After the committee approves the proposal, it will be presented to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council. We want to get the construction work started this year after getting the greenlight.”
When asked if the proposed EPZ, the ninth of its kind in the country, will be successful, Nazma said that the EPZs usually house export-oriented factories. The goods are directly exported and that is why most of the EPZs were set up near seaports to ensure easy shipment of products.
“The proposed Patuakhali EPZ will be situated next to the Payra seaport and a short distance away from the Mongla seaport. Apart from world-class road connectivity via the Padma Bridge, we are also anticipating the establishment of rail connectivity via the bridge. As a result, the EPZ will have little trouble attracting foreign investment.”
BEPZA will provide Tk 3.38 billion for the project, while the remaining Tk 11.37 billion will be financed by the government in loans, according to the draft proposal said.
In addition to ensuring direct employment for 100,000 Bangladeshis, the project will provide indirect employment for another 200,000 people, the proposal says.