After overcoming all kinds of complications, the "Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar Development Project" has finally received approval from the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).
Under the project, 1,500 acres of land in Zone-2A and Zone-2B of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar will be developed and some additional work will be done.
The project will cost Tk4,347.21 crore, of which Tk3,967.48 crore will come from the World Bank's International Development Association (IDA), which lends money at low interest rates. The remaining Tk379.74 crore will be spent from the government fund.
In a press briefing after the Ecnec meeting on Wednesday, Planning Minister MA Mannan said, "The Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar is a huge project for the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority, (Beza) as well as for the country."
Work is underway in this economic zone based on the coastal and char areas of Chattogram and Feni. Traders from China, Japan, Korea and India have shown interest in investing here.
The minister said the government will develop the land and allocate it to domestic and foreign entrepreneurs. With the approval of the government, they will invest and set up industries here, thereby increasing the country's employment and income.
The Ecnec meeting approved eight projects at an estimated cost of Tk14,041.96 crore. Of this, Tk4,348.73 crore will be spent from government funds and Tk28.12 crore from project implementing agencies.
The remaining Tk9,665.11 crore will be collected as assistance from foreign sources.
The Ecnec has approved a project titled "Digital Entrepreneur and Innovative Ecosystem Development" aimed at setting up a software technology park called Janata Tower-2, improving the working environment of existing software parks and creating effective ecosystems. The World Bank will provide a Tk255 crore loan for the project, costing around Tk353 crore.
The ECNEC has approved the first revision of the ongoing "Dhaka Environmentally Sustainable Water Supply Project" with a cost increase by Tk2,903 crore. Under the project, water from the Meghna River will be purified and supplied to Dhaka as drinking water.
The project was approved in 2014 at a cost of Tk5,248 crore, to complete the work by 2019. As the work was not completed on time, the project was extended till June 2022 and the cost of the revised project increased by around 55% to around Tk8,151 crore.
The Planning Minister said that the water supply system in Dhaka city had changed radically. Water supply system needs to be further improved due to the effects of environmental and climate change.
Meanwhile, the Ecnec approved the first revision of an ongoing project for the construction of key bridges spanning rural roads with a cost increase of around Tk2,530 crore/. The project, under the Local Government Engineering Department, aims to construct 132 bridges in different parts of the country.
The project was approved in June 2017 at a cost of around Tk3,926 crore. It was scheduled to be completed by June this year, but the project's duration has been extended to June 2024. The cost of the project has increased by around 64% to about Tk6,457 crore.
The Ecnec has also approved a project on driving training at a cost of Tk105.94 crore to develop 40,000 skilled drivers.
In addition, the Ecnec has approved a Tk427.98 crore project for the empowerment of women at grassroots level, aiming to develop the skills of 2.56 lakh women through training, create market opportunities for their products, and make 1,600 women entrepreneurs permanently self-reliant.
The Ecnec also approved a Tk384.36 crore project for 100% reliable and sustainable electrification of Hatia Dwip, Nijhum Dwip and Kutubdia Dwip.