With a $37 million investment plan, a leading Sri Lankan apparel maker is among the first batch of export-oriented companies that have leased plots in the Mirsarai economic zone in Chattogram.
Four firms – three foreign and one local – signed deals on Saturday with the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) to set up factories to manufacture apparel, garment accessories, camping equipment and shoe accessories at the Bepza economic zone in the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Chattogram.
The companies altogether will plough in around $50 million and employ 23,453 people, according to the deals signed at Bepza headquarters in Dhaka.
The firms are Sri Lanka-based Univogue Garments Company Ltd, US-based Campex (BD) Limited, Chinese Fengqun Composite Material Company (BD) Ltd, and Bangladeshi TexTrim Labels (BD) Limited.
Md Hafizur Rahman, Bepza Economic Zone project director, said Sri Lankan Univogue Garments will invest around $37 million to produce woven bottoms and woven jackets.
With a more than $2 million investment plan, Chinese Fengqun Composite will set up a shoe accessory-making and packaging industry at the economic zone.
US-based Campex (BD) Limited will set up a tent, tent accessories and outdoor garment manufacturing industry with an investment of $10 million, while Bangladeshi TexTrim will set up a garment accessories and paper converting industry with an investment of $1.27 million.
Abul Kalam Sikder, managing director of TexTrim, told The Business Standard that they will begin the factory construction next month.
Ahmad Kaikaus, principal secretary to the prime minister, told the contract signing event that Bepza has a unique magnetic power to attract investment which ultimately contributes to the economic development of the country.
"Bepza is not only helping to integrate with the global economy but also upgrading the life standards of the people," he added.
Congratulating the new investors, Bepza Executive Chairman Major General Abul Kalam Mohammad Ziaur Rahman said Bepza is now one of the most successful organisations in the country considering its experience, capabilities, expertise and professional excellence achieved during the journey of 40 years in serving the country's export-oriented industries.
He said investors' confidence has made Bepza a brand in the global arena. He referred to the land lease agreement signing as a milestone in their growing success.
Shaikh Yusuf Harun, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) said, "This is undoubtedly a praiseworthy achievement for Bepza that will accelerate the flow of investment in future. Bepza is operating its EPZs [export processing zones] successfully with efficiency, which is an inspiration for Beza."
SM Khan, President of the Bangladesh EPZs Investors' Association (Bepzia) said the investment-friendly atmosphere created by Bepza for the investors over the last 40 years is excellent. He thanked Bepza on behalf of the investors.
Under Bepza, there are now eight EPZs across the country. Those are – Chattogram EPZ, Dhaka EPZ, Mongla EPZ, Ishwardi EPZ, Comilla EPZ, Uttara EPZ, Adamjee EPZ, Karnaphuli EPZ and Adamjee EPZ.
Ali Reza Mazid, member (Investment Promotion) at Bepza, said some 453 industries have been set up at the EPZs with a total investment of $6 billion. The industries employ around 5 lakh people, while 66% of them are women. Bepza now contributes about 20% to the country's total annual exports.
The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar is located on about 30,000 acres of land in Mirsharai and Sitakunda upazilas of Chattogram and Sonagazi upazila of Feni.
On around 1138 acres of land, Bepza Economic Zone was launched in the industrial city in 2018.