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BEZA study: Fuel crunch upsets most EZ investors

FE REPORT | June 07, 2023 00:00:00

A majority of the surveyed stakeholders, including investors in economic zones (EZs), have cited fuel crunch as one of the key economic challenges, according to a new study.

It also identified high energy tariff, inadequate logistic infrastructure, hike in staff wages and complicated administrative procedure as major macroeconomic challenges.

The findings of the survey were revealed at a workshop styled 'Finalisation of the market assessment for the national master plan of economic zones' hosted by the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) at its headquarters in Dhaka city on Tuesday.

Management consulting firms Deloitte and DDC jointly did the study on market assessment and presented the findings to seek stakeholders' opinion at the event.

The study is part of the procedure to prepare a National Master Plan (NMP) for the BEZA.

BEZA executive chairman Shaikh Yusuf Harun attended the function as the chief guest.

BEZA executive member Mohammed Erfan Sharif, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar Development project director Abdullah Al Mahmud Faruk, BEZA officials and representatives from different public and private organisations attended it.

Representatives of the consulting firms made a presentation on the findings of the study at the programme.

According to the survey, 92 per cent of the respondents expressed their willingness to procure land in the EZs while Chattogram is their most preferred destination.

Khulna and Barishal regions are likely to become more popular in future, thanks to the opening of Padma Bridge and the development of Mongla and Payra ports.

The study suggested strengthening BEZA's one-stop services (OSS), solving policy uncertainties and negotiations with financial institutions as some of the key issues to be addressed.

It identified 20 priority sectors for EZ investors, including apparel, IT and software, pharmaceuticals and API, plastic and leather goods.

BEZA executive chairman Harun said a zone plan was being prepared for setting up EZs across the country and making industrialisation purposeful and effective.

"Alongside, it's necessary to finalise a comprehensive NMP keeping economic corridors into consideration," he told the workshop.

Mr Harun sought all stakeholders' active participation and cooperation in this regard.

Highlighting the market assessment study, Mr Faruk said it analysed stakeholder preferences, investment trends, sector-wise investment opportunities and benefits, future investment plans, utility requirements and long-term business impact scenarios.

The World Bank is providing financial support to prepare the NMP under the 'Private Investment and Digital Entrepreneurship' (PRIDE) project.

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