100 Special Economic Zones (EPZs) are in the works across the country. Of these, 68 EPZs have been given in-principle approval, of which 22 have been proposed for feasibility study by the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (BEZA). The cost for this has been estimated at 41 crore 35 lakh taka. Feasibility studies are proposed to be carried out over the next three years. This information is known from the source of planning commission.
Departmental Project Appraisal Committee meeting of the project was held recently. The Planning Commission has asked to drop several items in the feasibility study project proposal (DPP). This includes overseas visits of officers to gain EPZ experience. The commission says that foreign travel can be excluded as it is not compatible with such projects. The Planning Commission said that the implementation period of the project should be fixed for two years instead of three years.
Beza executive chairman Sheikh Yusuf Harun told the meeting that Beza is taking initiatives to establish economic zones in the backward areas of the country for the economic development of the country. The Besar Governing Board has given in-principle approval for the establishment of 68 Government Economic Zones in different regions of the country.
An official of Beza told Desh Panwaran on condition of anonymity yesterday that there are several thousand crore investment plans in any one economic zone. For this reason, this feasibility study project has been undertaken to determine whether the EPZs are capable of these investments.
He said, 7 to 8 zones will now have feasibility verification process. Land acquisition, water supply assurance and environment of the remaining economic zones will be thoroughly looked into.
Officials said that after preparing various studies and master plans, the work of establishing economic zones in some areas is going on. Feasibility study, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), Rehabilitation Action Plan (RAP), Land Acquisition Plan (LAP), Master Plan and water availability verification are required to be completed in order to establish planned economic zones in other areas in a phased manner. For this purpose, a survey project called ‘Feasibility Study, Masterplan and Water Availability Study for Economic Zones of Beza’ was carried out to verify the feasibility of 8 economic zones, prepare ESIA, RAP, LAP of 8 economic zones, master plan of 3 economic zones and verify water availability of 3 economic zones. Acceptance is proposed.
Through the proposed survey project, feasibility study, ESIA, RAP, LAP of Bhola, Gopalganj, Panchagarh, Kurigram, Naogaon, Natore and Rajshahi Economic Zones will be completed and only feasibility study of Nawabganj EPZ will be carried out. Besides, preparation of master plan in Nawabganj, Bogra and Netrakona and verification of availability of water in Nawabganj, Maheshkhali Special Economic Zone (Dhalghata) and Maheshkhali (Sonadia).
The proposed implementation period of the project is from July 2023 to June 2026. The estimated cost is Tk 41 crore 35 lakh. Out of this amount, Rs 40 crore will be provided from revenue and Rs 1 crore 15 lakh from capital. The project is proposed to be implemented through Beza’s own financing. Finance department has already given approval for its implementation.
A representative of the Ministry of Planning’s Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Department (IMED) said that the proposed survey project has mentioned the estimated value of the RTK-Total Station (basically it is a survey machine).
The meeting suggested buying one instead of two RTK-Total stations. Hiring vehicle procurement method and type of non-consulting service (NCS) shown in procurement plan. As per PPR-2008 there is no such mode of purchase it has to be amended to OTM system. Apart from this, the circular issued by the planning department should mention the period of organizing PSC and PIC meetings every three months.
Apart from this, the representative of the Industrial and Energy Wing of the Planning Commission said that the implementation period is three years extra depending on the size of the project. It needs to be determined logically.
In the meeting, the Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office-1 said that the issue of formation of a technical committee can be included in the DPP to provide necessary guidance and ensure the quality of the survey reports by reviewing the survey reports submitted by various consulting organizations in the survey project proposal.