Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) is said to be Bangladesh’s largest industrial enclave. The BSMSN industrial enclave comprises conjoining EZs – Mirsarai and Sitakunda in Chittagong district and Sonagazi in Feni district.
Primarily, the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority or BEZA is reportedly 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, which is expected to generate over 1.5 million direct and another 3.5 million indirect employment and draw an investment worth US $ 30 billion, even as the industrial enclave will be well-equipped with all required infrastructure facilities including road connectivity, power plants, gas stations, water supply, residential facility and recreation centres. What’s more, BEZA was said to be even planning to develop a dedicated sea port for the industrial city as well as an airstrip so that executive jets can land when required in the future.
The work on the industrial hub is progressing fast and, the first factory within it was supposed to get inaugurated by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this month only even as another five or six units are scheduled to be inaugurated by December, including that of Asian Paints and SQ Electric.
No development work was postponed for the pandemic and now it is just a matter of time for different investors to open their factories, maintained Paban Chowdhury, the Executive Chairman of BEZA — according to BEZA, the BSMSN drew investment proposals amounting to US $ 20.8 billion till date (US $ 20 billion from locals and US $ 823 million from foreigners) — even as Jinyuan Chemical Industry was reportedly scheduled to be the first to be inaugurated but it faced a setback due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The BSMSN is also supposed to have a dedicated garment village and a delegation of the apex garment makers’ body in Bangladesh, BGMEA led by its President Faruque Hassan, held a meeting with Paban Chowdhury at the BEZA office in Dhaka last month to discuss on the progress of constructing the garment village even as Faruque Hassan extended thanks to BEZA for developing the industrial park and leasing land to set up garment manufacturing units at BSMSN. He also expressed hope that state-of-the-art garment factories in the industrial park will generate more employment and contribute to the country’s economy with enhanced export earnings.
After the meeting, the BGMEA President handed over a cheque of Taka. 15.85 crore to the BEZA Executive Chairman as a payment by eight garment factories for getting land allotment in the garment park.
Earlier, 41 apparel manufacturers got allotment of industrial plots at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar.
According to reports, the BEZA signed the land lease agreements with these apparel makers who are members of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) earlier even as Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus attended the agreement signing ceremony as Chief Guest while NBR Chairman Abu Hena Md. Rahmatul Muneem, Secretary of Local Government Division Helal Uddin Ahmed, Secretary of the Ministry Md Mustafizur Rahman PAA and then BGMEA President Dr. Rubana Huq attended the programme as special guests while Paban Chowdhury presided over the event.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, around 37 local textile and garment manufacturers have already started investing in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) to establish high-end apparel factories even as they plan to invest around US $ 650 million together.
However, the investors expect to begin constructing their factories from next year, opting for a go-slow policy amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic as protracted lockdowns at major export destinations caused a significant fall in demand, as a result of which some of the manufacturers have reportedly decided to not go for construction in the current year even as a few have already availed industrial plots at the park, which was built on reclaimed land in the Bay of Bengal, signing a 50-year lease.
The factories there would reportedly produce fabrics, formal shirts, T-shirts, trousers, yarn, sweaters, polo shirts, manmade fibres, blazers and sportswear.
It may be mentioned here that BEZA has been developing the allocated plots by providing them with access to gas, power, water, sewage lines and other utilities and has also been enhancing connectivity building roads both in and around the zone.
“I bought an industrial plot at the BSMSN and plan to initially invest US $ 100 million, mainly to produce high-end textile and garment items,” earlier stated AK Aazd, Managing Director of Ha-Meem Group, speaking to the media, adding, “However, I will not make this investment in the current year amidst the Coronavirus fallouts. Instead, I will start working on the new project from 2022… I hope that by the end of the year, the development of industrial plots would be completed, like connections of electricity, gas and other utilities.”
Earlier, interacting with the media, Chairman of the industrial zone’s standing committee of the BGMEA, Md M Mohiuddin Chowdhury reportedly underlined that 48 local garment manufacturers have already applied for plots at a section inside the BSMSN designated for the sector.
Out of 48 applicants, 37 have so far received confirmation of getting an allotment, he said while adding that some development activities like installation of power, gas connections, preparation of the plots and construction of internal roads and boundary walls need to be completed.
I hope by this year, all of those activities would be completed for the handover of the plots to the investors as the development activities of BEZA are going on, said Md M Mohiuddin Chowdhury then while adding that he hoped BEZA may hand over the plots at this year’s end even as he maintained once the investors receive the plots, they will start construction of their mills and factories.
…expect in next two-and-a-half years or so, the actual production will start, he claimed while adding that most of the mills and factories have been planning to construct factories of global standard to produce high-end apparel items as conventional garment business has become very competitive lately.
So far, 37 of 48 investors have either made full or partial payments for their industrial plots,
said Chowdhury, who is also an investor at the BSMSN and the Chief Executive Officer and Director of Clifton Group.
Meanwhile, reports suggest around US $ 1,400 million worth of garment items could be exported from the proposed factories, which would employ about one lakh workers combinedly even as Director of Well Fashion Syed Nazrul Islam, on his part, reportedly maintained he had already received his one-acre industrial plot and was waiting for another plot of two acres of land to be handed over soon to build modern factory buildings
Islam was reportedly planning to come up with a woven composite garment factory, to be built at the cost of Taka 100 crore, to produce but high-end products but, the work on which might take another year to begin, thanks to the pandemic.
I have a plan to construct a global standard garment factory to produce high-valued garment items, wound up Islam on a positive note while interacting with the media even as industry insider maintained the garment village at the BSMSN, will give a further boost to apparel manufacturing in the country.