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‘Foreign firms want to invest only near Dhaka, Chittagong’


Dhaka : Asian investors want to set up manufacturing units or relocate their existing industries only around the national capital and port town of Chittagong in Bangladesh, says an official.

In the first six months of 2010, the Board of Investment (BoI) had received demands for over 800 acres of industrial land, mainly in the two cities or on their outskirts.

BoI executive member Abu Reza Khan says the investors are only interested to establish or relocate their industries in either Chittagong or Dhaka.

There are no takers for the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Promotion Zones (EPZs), apparently for lack of adequate infrastructure.

“When we approached them for other cities or EPZs at other locations, they directly refuse our proposals,” The Daily Star newspaper reported Tuesday quoting Khan.

The demands have come from about two dozen industrial ventures, mainly from Taiwan, Korea, China and Malaysia.

Lured by cheap labour, top executives of the world’s biggest contract manufacturer of shoes, Taiwan-based Pou Chen, intended to relocate their factories from Sichuan to Chittagong.

BoI is stuck between increasing demands for industrial land by potential foreign investors and dearth of land in and around Chittagong and Dhaka.

Taiwanese executives from shoe manufacturers Hui Dong Wei Ming, Guangzhou Luo Lin and Sichuan Lujiayi Shoes Co, visited Dhaka hoping to relocate factories in Bangladesh, Khan told the daily.

Textile, leather goods and glass manufacturing companies also interested to relocate factories from China and Taiwan to Bangladesh.

Taiwanese factories in China are facing shortages of workers for low-end products due to rising expectations and salaries in higher-end goods factories.

The investors only want to be in or near the two cities, because they are worried about Bangladesh’s poor infrastructure in other areas, another BoI official said.

“It is apparent that the government has no plan to create more EPZs at the two cities; but the government will ensure all facilities to private entrepreneurs to develop private EPZ and SEZ in the two cities,” a senior official of Bangladesh Export Processing Zone (Bepza) said.