The government will construct multi-storey dormitories for female workers in each of the eight Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in the country to address their accommodation problem.
The decision was taken at the 33rd meeting of the Board of Governors of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zone Authority (BEPZA) held at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) with BEPZA Chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, PM's Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhuri said the Bangladesh Bank would finance from its Housing Fund to construct the six-storey dormitories.
He said the meeting also decided to exempt five percent holding tax to BEPZA for the EPZs -- Ishwardi, Savar and Nilphamari -- situated in the Union Parishads.
Besides, all the foreign investors and foreigners working at the EPZs would get commissionerate facility at 15 percent duty.
The PM's Press Secretary said a decision was also taken to relocate some 1206 non-Bengali families living in the Adamjee EPZ to another place constructing multi-storey buildings from the Bangladesh Bank’s Housing Fund.
Currently, there are some 26.84 acres of land under the possession of non-Bengali families. Out of the total 1,406 families, some 200 non-Bengali families have so far been rehabilitated in barracks through Ashrayan project.
He said the second unit of the Adamjee Jute Mills, which is yet to be dismantled, would be given to those entrepreneurs who would produce jute and jute-made goods.
During the meeting, Bepza Executive Chairman Major General Mohd Habibur Rahman highlighted a brief scenario of the overall activities of BEPZA over the last six years as well as its overall progress and growth.
In order to attain government's Vision 2021, Habibur Rahman said Bepza has been working relentlessly to achieve the goal through doubling the contribution of industrial sector to GDP.
The industries under production at the EPZs are now 437 while works are underway to set up 123 more industries at the EPZs to raise the total number of industries to 600 under the Vision 2021. During the 2009-2014 tenure of the Awami League government, some 144 new industries were set up compared to 101 during the 2003-2008 period of the BNP-Jamaat and the successive caretaker government.
Bepza officials said the cumulative investment at the EPZs till December 2014 totalled $ 3,401.46 million while the overall exports from the industries under the EPZs till December, 2014 totalled $ 42,930.35 million. Some 4,05,166 workers are now being employed in some 437 industries under the EPZs.
Besides, during the 2009-2014 period of the Awami League government, the EPZs fetched around $ 1892.45 million investment with a 129.55 percent growth over $ 824.38 million attracted during the 2003-2008 period.
The overall exports from the EPZs during the 2009-2014 period fetched $ 25,332.11 million notching a 155.95 percent growth against $ 9,897.13 million during the 2003-2008 period of the BNP-Jamaat and successive caretaker government. Besides, some 2,01,545 employees worked at the countrywide EPZs during the last six years of the Awami League government whereas the number of workers during 2003-2008 period was 94,932.
Currently, investors from some 37 countries from across the world, including South Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, India, the USA, the UK, Malaysia, Germany and host Bangladesh are investing in eight EPZs under Bepza.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, Executive Chairman of the Board of Investment (BoI) SA Samad, State Minister for Labour Mujibul Haque Chunnu, State Minister for Home Asaduzzaman Khan, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr Atiur Rahman, PM's Principal Secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder and secretaries concerned attended the meeting.