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Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar: Many plots ready to host industrial units

Saif Uddin, Back from Chattogram | Sunday, 2 February 2020

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) is partially ready with key infrastructure and utility services to host industrial units now, according to a spot account.

Several investors have already started setting up their factory buildings and few of them are expecting to start production by June next while many ready plots with necessary facilities awaiting investors, officials have said.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) is now getting good responses from the local and international investors to get land in the BSMSN thanks to its highly suitable location.

"The BEZA has so far received investment proposals worth US$ 15 billion. Some of the willing businesses have already started setting up factories," said BEZA Executive Chairman Paban Chowdhury.

"We have approved or signed memorandum of understanding with local and multinational businesses including Berger Paints, Asian Paints and Sojitz Corporation," Mr Chowdhury told the FE during a recent visit to the Mirsarai Economic Zone (MEZ).

Chinese Yabang Chemical Group recently got allocation for 100-acres of land in the EZ, but later they sought 500 acres in total considering the future prospect of investment, he added.

The BSMSN is an industrial hub comprising three conjoining EZs - Mirsarai and Sitakunda in Chattogram district and Sonagazi in Feni district, according to BEZA.

Primarily the BEZA is developing the zones in over 30,000 acres of land on the mouth of Feni river, covering 25 kilometres of coast line of Sandwip Channel of the Bay of Bengal.

Responding to a query, Mr Paban Chowdhury said the BEZA is hopeful about getting the BSMSN fully complete by 2030 which will also be an ideal tourism spot. He added that a good number of plots are now ready for factory construction.

There will be an aesthetic water body by the name of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a marine drive and other tourism attractions, he said.

During a visit to the MEZ, a factory of Chinese Jinyuan Chemical Industry was found fully ready for production. "We are now ready to start manufacturing different chemical products and export those," said Wang Li Bing, a representative of the company.

He hailed the support received from the government authorities to install the factory within a short period of time.

Among the under-construction factories, Nippon & McDonald Steel Industries Ltd is likely to go for production by July next, said its onsite Manager Abdullah Al Mamun.

"We are done with the foundation work for the new factory, now it will take few months only to complete the factory building prior to starting production," said Mr Mamun. The Japan-Bangladesh joint venture company has invested Tk 5.5 billion for the new industrial unit.

A multinational company Asian Paint observed the groundbreaking ceremony in the MEZ on January 22. The company is setting up its second plant in Bangladesh at a cost of US$ 20 million.

"Our aspiration to develop new factory in a land free from any type of disputes has been made easy with the support of the EZ authority," said the company's Bangladesh head Ritesh Doshi.

According to the sources, the BSMSN is expected to generate over 1.5 million direct and another 3.5 million indirect employments drawing an investment worth US$ 30 billion.

The industrial enclave is going to have all required infrastructure facilities like road connectivity, power plants, gas stations, water supply, residential facility and recreation centres.

The BEZA is even planning to develop a dedicated sea port for the industrial city, Paban Chowdhury said.

Aiming to become a complete industrial city, the BSMSN should have its own sea port, said the BEZA chief, adding that international development partners like Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the World Bank have given green signal in this regard.

"Soon a detailed feasibility study will start as two pre-feasibility studies have been conducted," said Mr Chowdhury. "We hope the BSMSN will have its own complete seaport spreading over thousand acres of land," he said.

There will be a place to be allocated for establishing an airstrip so that executive jets can land when required in future, he added.

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12:00 AM, August 18, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:47 AM, August 18, 2020

Bashundhara Group to fork out Tk 4,350cr to set up three factories at BSMSN

Jagaran Chakma

Bashundhara Group, one of the largest business groups in Bangladesh, is set to establish three new enterprises with a total investment of Tk 4,350 crore at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) in Mirsarai, Chattogram.

"The expansion is a result of a bold decision by the government," said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA).

BEZA helped facilitate the project by leasing a 500-acre plot for the new economic zone that will feature the Bashundhara Pre-fabricated Building Manufacturing Industries, Bashundhara Multi Steel Industries and Bashundhara Chemical Industries.

The land was previously abandoned but now, investors are showing interest in the zone, Chowdhury said, adding that BEZA is standing by the investors even amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

About 20 per cent of the project's infrastructure development works is already complete, said Foyez Rahman, secretary to the vice-chairman of Bashundhara Group.

The factories will be able to go into full operation by the end of 2021.

Government's policies play a major hurdle to industrialisation.

For example, the National Board of Revenue recently imposed a 15 per cent value-added tax (VAT) on land leasing at economic zones, providing yet another obstacle for attracting investment.

Frequent policy changes also impede any business process that was being conducted based on previous rules and regulations.

In regards to the financing of the project, Rahman said they have already sent their application for funding to Agrani Bank.

Through the new factories, Bashundhara Group is targeting to create about 3,852 jobs.

After considering the potential growth of the pre-fabricated steel sector, Bashundhara Group felt it prudent to invest in the industry.

The manufacture of pre-fabricated steel in Bangladesh has had an annual growth rate of about 15 to 20 per cent over the last 10 years.

In the past, the market value for pre-fabricated steel was only Tk 2,000 crore but now stands at Tk 4,000 crore, according to the Steel Building Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh.

Similarly, Bashundhara also wants to grab a greater share of the growing steel sector. The market size for steel is currently about Tk 55,000 crore but domestic demand continues to increase rapidly thanks to the various mega projects and infrastructure development activities being implemented across Bangladesh.

Likewise, the manufacture of chemical products is also a booming industry in the country.

Riding on the rising trend of garment exports, the textile chemical market is expected to reach a value of $1.38 billion by 2024. For now, the chemical sector is largely dependent on imports.

And with this backdrop, Bashundhara plans to begin producing such chemicals locally to grab a greater share of the domestic market.

Textile colourants dominate the market for chemicals used in the garment sector as they provide an aesthetic appearance and value for finished textile products.

With several large-scale textile mills operating in Dhaka, the capital accounts for most of the domestic demand.

With about 40 active steel manufacturers in Bangladesh, the sector has an overall capacity to manufacture nine million tonnes of steel each year. Of them, Abul Khair Steel, BSRM and KSRM meet more than half the domestic demand.

According to BEZA's Chowdhury, this is only the beginning of Bashundhara's investments in the country as the organisation plans to invest heavily in different sectors in the future.

Bashundhara may even bring in more foreign investment through joint ventures, he added.



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12:00 AM, October 02, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:46 AM, October 02, 2020

Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar to come under digital security system

Will pave way for ‘smart industrial city’

Jagaran Chakma

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) will be brought under a digital security system as a part of the government's plans to build it up as a 'smart industrial city'.

"We want to monitor the ongoing development work from Dhaka and ensure tight security to avoid any kind of untoward incident inside the zone," said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).

"For this reason, we will establish a digital security system in the zone," he added.

An information and technology communication solutions provider, aamra networks, will set up internet protocol cameras that focus on a select portion of the BSMSN which is currently undergoing development and houses Beza's site office free of charge.

Beza signed a memorandum of understanding with aamra networks in this regard yesterday and according to Chowdhury, the company is keen to start their work as soon as possible.

The 'smart city' concept basically combines the Internet of Things, cloud computing and big data analytics. In this system, devices collect data which is stored and analysed for real time application and solutions.

Beza plans to build up the BSMSN as a 'smart industrial city', complete with digital security systems to detect untoward incidents and illegal entry and high-speed telecommunications enabling remote monitoring from Dhaka, Chowdhury said.

To achieve this, Beza will appoint a competent consultant, he added.

"Initially, aamra will provide complimentary internet connectivity and video surveillance solutions that focus on a portion of the BSMSN," Sinha Humayun, senior manager for brand and product development at aamra networks, told The Daily Star.

It will enable Beza officials to remotely monitor and follow-up on the ongoing construction and development, he said, adding that in the future, they aim to provide IT solutions to investors of the BSMSN. 



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12:00 AM, October 20, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:48 AM, October 20, 2020

Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar taking shape defying all odds

The industrial city now has $19b investment proposals, which may cross $30b by 2030

Jagaran Chakma


Development works, including earth filling, being carried out by various investors at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar in Chattogram. Factories of 13 different companies are now under construction in the economic zone and the plants may go into production by next year. Photo: COLLECTED

The Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) seems to be taking shape day by day as investors have started developing the physical infrastructure of the 30,000-acre economic zone.

While visiting the country's future industrial hub last Friday, this correspondent witnessed massive development works, including earth filling, being carried out by various investors.

Meanwhile, businesses from home and abroad have come up with investment proposals worth $19 billion for the industrial city, said Paban Chowdhury, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza).

Of them, foreign companies, including Wilmar of Singapore, Adani Group and Asian Paints of India, Sojitz Corporation of Japan, Nippon Steel of Japan and Yabang Group of China, wanted to invest $10 billion, he said.

"The remaining $9 billion proposals came from local businesses. The major investors are: TK Group, Karmo Foam Industries, Mango Teleservices, BDCOM Online, Bashundhara Group, Siraj Cycle Industries, Abdul Monem Group, Star Consortium and Ayesha Clothing Company."

Out of the around 200 international and local investment proposals, 76 came from local garment makers, he added.

Moreover, three local entities—Confidence Group, Energypac and state-owned Rural Power Company Ltd—have expressed their willingness to invest nearly $3 billion in the power sector, he said.

"We hope the total investment in BSMSN will reach $30 billion by 2030, which will be equivalent to the total investment made on all other zones," he added.

Even amid the pandemic, the Beza received over $1.5 billion in investment proposals from home and abroad.

Factories of 13 different companies, including Asian Paints, McDonald Steel and Modern Synthetic, are now under construction, he said. "These factories may go into production by the next year."

Some other factories are currently waiting for the utility connections to start their construction work, he said.

Earlier, the World Bank handed over $500 million for the development of the industrial city and the global lender attached a condition that no factory should start construction work before getting utility connections.

The Beza executive chairman said they will use underground water sources for the next two and a half years to ensure water supply to the industrial units.

The water will be brought to the surface with the help of Chattogram Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, he said.

Within the next three months, the entire area of the BSMSN will be desalinised, he said.

Local companies want to pour funds into pharmaceutical, chemical, steel, textiles, garments, bicycle, automobile, tire and tube, electronics and ceramic sectors.

Both the local and foreign businesses which will invest in the economic zones will enjoy the same facilities, said Chowdhury.

Chowdhury went on to say that more proposals are coming in thanks to the growing interest of foreign investors.

However, he said the Beza is now declining proposals as it would not be possible to accommodate them all due to a shortage of land in the industrial city.

But land will be available when they will start land allotment at the Swandip site on the south bank of the Swandip Channel, he said.

At least 1.5 million jobs will be created in the zone and it would become the third largest city in Bangladesh after Dhaka and Chattogram, as around 15 million people will live in the adjoining areas, he said.

According to Chowdhury, just five year ago nobody could imagine that this char land would lead to a different Bangladesh by becoming the country's biggest industrial hub.

This zone will help Bangladesh materialise its dream to become a high-income nation, he said.

Jinyuan Chemical Industry, a Chinese company which exports chemical products to the US and Canada, was to set to be the first company to begin operations inside the BSMSN in March, but the Covid-19 outbreak delayed the process, he said.

"I have received all clearances to start operation of the factory," Wang Yang, chairman of Jinyuan Chemical Industry, told The Daily Star ahead of the coronavirus outbreak in March.

Yang had shifted her factory from China to Bangladesh in order to lessen the tariff burden while exporting products to North America.

"My first aim is to avoid the impacts of the US-China trade conflict and make my products competitive."

Yang had invested $6 million in the first phase of the factory, which created jobs for 50 people. "I plan to increase this investment in the future," she added.

The BSMSN will be the first public economic zone to go into operation as part of the government's plan to set up 100 industrial enclaves across the country to boost industrialisation, Chowdhury said. 



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TBS Report

19 August, 2021, 08:35 pm

Last modified: 19 August, 2021, 08:40 pm

All economic zones will have CETPs: Beza

Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar factories will have to have their own ETPs over and above the CETP


All economic zones in Bangladesh will have central effluent treatment plants (CETPs) as the government is concerned about environmental pollution, a top public official said.

Shaikh Yusuf Harun, executive chairman of the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), said, "The CETP project for Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar in Chattogram has already been approved. The government is also installing other ETPs [effluent treatment plants] as waste treatment measures in economic zones to curb industrial pollution."   

At a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signing programme with HSBC Bank Bangladesh at the Beza office in Dhaka in Thursday, Yusuf Harun said projects to the tune of Tk4,000 crore, including a water supply network and a CETP have been taken up for Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar.

"The World Bank is investing in the "Bangladesh Private Investment & Digital Entrepreneurship" project. The tender will be floated soon," he added.

Apart from the central waste treatment plant, the Beza executive chairman said factories in Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar will have to have their own ETPs as well.

Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar – the largest economic zone of Bangladesh – is going up in Chattogram's Mirsharai, Sitakunda, and Feni's Sonagazi. As many as 120 industries have already signed deals with Beza to set up production units there. Of them, 13 industries are expected to begin commercial production by the end of this year or in mid-2022.   

Under the MoU, HSBC Bank Bangladesh will plant 40,000 mangrove trees and maintain them in the industrial city as part of the bank's corporate social responsibility efforts.

Mohammad Hassan Arif, general manager of Beza, and Md Mahabubur Rahman, chief executive officer of HSBC Bank Ltd, signed the MoU.

Md Mahabubur Rahman said ecological balance is being considered seriously all over the world and HSBC Bank is proud to take part in the tree plantation programme.

Beza Executive Member Mohammad Irfan Sharif, Abdul Azim Chowdhury, Ali Ahsan, and HSBC Bangladesh Country Head of wholesale banking, Kevin Green, were also present at the programme.

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