The factory of Xinyuan Chemical Industry will go into operation towards the end of the current year at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar.
With an investment of $24 million, the Chinese company that exports chemical to the United States (US) and Canada will be the first to begin operations in the Mirsarai Economic Zone in Chattogram.
India's Asian Paint and local green composite denim unit Arman Haque Denim will also begin production in January next year.
The Bangabandhu industrial city is being developed on 30,000 acres of land touching three upazilas – Mirsarai, Sitakundu and Sonagazi – under Chattogram and Feni districts respectively.
So far, around 64 local and foreign entrepreneurs have made investment proposals involving $15 billion for the country's largest industrial enclave.
The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) expects $40 billion in investment there by 2035. It also hopes the economic zone will create at least 10 lakh jobs when it will be running fully.
"The industrial city has got foreign investment proposals worth about $3.8 billion from China, India, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan," a Beza official said, seeking to be unnamed.
With the land allotment starting in 2017, the Beza has so far allocated 6,077 acres to 55 local and foreign companies at the industrial city. These companies have submitted investment proposals of $12 billion, as per the Beza's draft annual report of 2019.
Foreign investors at Bangabandhu industrial city
Among the interested foreign investors, four Chinese companies have received approval for investment in the industrial park. Sojitz Corporation, one of the leading business groups in Japan, was assured of getting land allocation.
Chinese steel giant Kunming Iron and Steel Holding Company is all set to invest $2.13 billion in a plant in the industrial city.
The Japanese company which teamed up with the Energypac Power Generation Ltd, a local conglomerate, will invest $500 million to establish a port.
UK Food Processing Company will invest $29 million, Australian LPG Company $26 million and Indian Asian Paint will invest $26 million in the Bangabandhu industrial city.
India is expected to invest about $85 million to set up an economic zone and an IT park.
Local investors at industrial enclave
Bashundhara Group will set up an industrial economic zone on 500 acres of land with a $500 million investment, which will create 10,000 jobs.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association will set up an apparel park on 500 acres of land with a $2 billion investment for relocating the factories randomly established in Dhaka. The garments park will create five lakh jobs.
Ananta Group got an allocation of 250 acres of land for 50 years and will invest about $493 million where 25,000 jobs will be generated.
ACI Pharmaceuticals will invest about $315 million and is expected to create 5,000 jobs while BSRM Steel Mills will invest about $240 million.
Other factories, including KSRM, Siraj Cycle Industry, BPDB-RCPL Power Generation Company, Arab-Bangladesh Food and Fawn International, have also made investment proposals.
The present state of the industrial city
During a visit, this correspondent saw the construction of the Chinese chemical factory has been completed. The Beza office was under-construction next to the Water Development Board's China Harbour office.
Work on factories of Asian Paint and Arman Haque Denim is going on in full swing.
Arman Denim hanged a notice that read, "The factory will start operation from January next year".
Beza Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury said construction of the power plant for the industrial city is nearing completion. The power plant with 150 megawatts of capacity at the Mirsarai Economic Zone will go into production in March or April this year.
Besides, the construction of the Chinese chemical factory has finished. The factory will go into production once it receives approval from the home ministry, he added.
PowerPac-East West-GasMin consortium, which was appointed for development and operation of the Mirsarai Economic Zone (Phase-1), has completed work on connecting road, land development, coastal embankment and drinking water supply line.
The feasibility study for the Mirsarai Economic Zone (Phase-2) on 1,300 acres of land has been completed and the environment clearance certificate has been obtained.
Contractor firm has already been appointed for land development and construction of coastal embankment 2/A and 2/B, administrative building, connecting road and bridge, separate entrance for two zones, power substation, accommodation shed and underground water reservoir and installation of water supply line.
Bangladesh Water Development Board has been building the 16-kilometre embankment cum two-lane road at a cost of Tk1,653 crore as Bangabandhu industrial city is located in the coastal area.
Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Mahbubul Alam said the pace of construction activities at the industrial city is satisfactory.
Once the industrial park is completed, the country will be able to earn $15 billion in exports by 2035 from Bangabandhu industrial city.