Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) is managing the various export processing zones in Bangladesh. It is the official organ of the government to promote, attract and facilitate foreign investment in the EPZs. Besides, BEPZA as the competent authority performs inspection and supervision of the compliances of the enterprises related to social and environmental issues, safety and security at work place in order to maintain harmonious labour-management and industrial relations in EPZs.
BEPZA currently oversees the operations of eight export processing zones (EPZs) which are Chittagong EPZ, Dhaka EPZ, Mongla EPZ, Ishwardi EPZ, Comilla EPZ, Uttara EPZ, Adamjee EPZ and Karnaphuli EPZ. A ninth zone is scheduled to open in the future. BEPZA provides (a) plots/factory buildings in custom bonded area, (b) infrastructural facilities, (c) administrative facilities and (d)fiscal and non-fiscal incentives. Currently, 58% of the industries are foreign owned, 14% are under joint venture and locals own 28%.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) is a centralized economic zones authority which was instituted by the Government of Bangladesh in November 2010 under ‘Bangladesh Economic Zones Act, 2010’. BEZA has been established with broad objectives to (a) attract FDI and domestic investment, (b) develop and diversify export, (c) promote skill development, knowledge sharing and generate employment (d) ensuring dynamic economic benefits for structural change and (e) social and environmental sustainability. It is planning to develop 100 Economic Zones (EZs) within a period of 15 years. Once completed, these EZs will create 10 million jobs and provide a manufacturing base for US$40 billion worth of export-oriented goods.
Till now, BEZA has got approval to establish 88 economic zones countrywide comprising 61 Government EZs and 27 Private EZs. Feasibility studies, land acquisition and land development are underway for these approved EZs. Around US$5.78 billion is going to be invested in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, Sreehatta and Moheshkhali Economic Zones from companies in China, South Korea, Japan, India, Singapore, the UK, Australia, Malaysia and the US. Over 60 local companies are also expected to invest US$12.13 billion in these EZs. Among the foreign ones, the highest investment proposal worth US$2.83 billion came for the power sector from two Chinese companies. South Korean entity Super Petrochemical showed interest to invest US$2.38 billion in petrochemicals, the second biggest amount. A Singaporean company stood third in the list with a fund of US$400 million for the food processing sector.
Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) is developing six different categories of Economic Zones which are:
(1) PPP Economic Zones- established through public and private partnership (PPP) by local or foreign individuals, body or organizations;
(2) Private Economic Zones- established individually or jointly by local, non-resident Bangladeshis or foreign investor, body, business organizations or groups;
(3) Government Economic Zones- established and owned by the Government
(4) Special Economic Zones- established privately or by public private partnership or by the Government initiative, for establishing any kind of specialized industry or commercial organization;
(5) G2G Economic Zones- established upon initiative by the government of a foreign country or the Government of Bangladesh and/or in partnership between Government of Bangladesh and Government of a foreign country; and
(6) Economic Zones- established in collaboration with and/or partnership between Government Authorities or Organizations.
In the G2G Economic Zones, till now three MOUs have been signed for Indian Economic Zones in Kustia and Mongla, Chinese Economic and Industrial Zone in Anwara of Chattogram and Japanese Economic Zone near Dhaka City in Arihajar Upazila of Narayanganj District. Developments of these G to G economic zones are progressing quite satisfactorily. Negotiations are currently undergoing with some other countries to set up similar EZs. Six private Economic Zones (EZs) are already in operation.
Textile & garments, LPG & LNG, shipbuilding & repairing, steel re-rolling plants, light engineering & auto parts, pharmaceuticals, jute and jute based products, chemicals, leather goods, power, telecommunication IT-enabled services, LNG Terminal & petrochemical plants and agro-processing including fish processing & cold chain are the preferred sectors for investment in Economic Zones. Foreign companies like SK, Honda, Mitsubishi Corporation, Sakata INX Corp, Asian paints, Berger, Adani, Sumitomo Corporation, CHEC (China Harbour Engineering Company), Wilmar, Power China and Nippon Steel have already started investing in the EZs.
BEZA will provide multiple incentives to the developers of the Economic Zones as well as to the manufacturing unit investors. Benefits to developer of EZs range from income tax expatiation to reduction of capital expenditure. The incentives for manufacturing unit investors varies from fiscal incentives such as exemption of taxes and custom/ excise duties to non-fiscal incentives such as no FDI ceiling, issuance of work permits and recommendation for residency /Citizenship. Developers will enjoy an exemption from stamp duty and registration fees for land registration. Unit investors will enjoy 100 per cent backward linkage of raw materials and get to sell accessories for submitting Expressions of Interest (EOI) in Domestic Tariff Area (DTA). One-stop services are provided to both parties—developers of the economic zones and the manufacturing unit investors.
Bangladesh plans to make the country an export-oriented hardware-software manufacturing country. To facilitate this, Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) was established in 2010 to develop the ICT industry through creation, management, operation and development of a number of hi-tech parks. It is expected that these hi-tech parks will be able to attract substantial foreign direct investment. Information Technology, Software Technology, Bio-Technology, Renewable Energy, Green Technology, IT Hardware, IT Enabled Services and R&D are major areas of investment in Hi-Tech industry in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) is providing the following fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to the developers and investors of the Hi-Tech Parks:
Bangabandhu Hi-Tech City (BHTC) at Kaliakoir is going to be the first full-fledged special economic zone for IT/ ITES and hi-tech industry in Bangladesh. It is located at 32 km from Shahjalal International Airport and well connected with the capital Dhaka. So far nine companies including Robi Axiata, Xenex, BJIT Software, Fair Electronic, KDS Group, Intercloud, Business Automation, Nasdaq Technology and JR Enterprise have been allotted in total 20.50 acres of land for setting up their own factories.
Three hi-tech projects are currently operational such as Sheikh Hasina Software Technology Park in Jessore, Janata Tower Software Technology Park in Dhaka and Sheikh Kamal IT Training and Incubation Center in Natore. Apart from BHTC, several other hi-tech parks projects are currently under different phases of development that includes among others Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Hi-Tech Park Project (Rajshahi), Sylhet Hi-Tech Park Project and 12 (Twelve) IT Park Project (in 12 districts).