ECNEC approves Japanese SEZ, PM orders better communication models

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved a project worth Tk. 2,582.18 for setting up Economic Zone dedicated for Japanese investors at Araihazar in Narayanganj.

ECNEC chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting held in the NEC Conference Room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area.

Planning Minister MA Mannan briefed reporters after the meeting and said a total of eight projects were approved today involving an overall estimated cost of Taka 6,276.24 crore.

“Of the total project cost, Tk. 3,313.92 crore will come from the state exchequer while the rest of Tk. 2,962.32 crore from project assistance,” the minister said adding that all the projects are new.

For the Japanese SEZ, Tk. 2,582.18 crore will be provided from the state exchequer while the rest of Tk. 2,127.82 crore as project assistance from Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The decision to set up a special economic zone for Japanese investors was taken during the visits of the prime ministers of both Bangladesh and Japan to each other’s country in 2014.

Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), the implementing agency of the project titled ‘Infrastructure Development for Japanese Economic Zone at Araihazar’, will develop land, construct access roads and set up a power plant, sub-station, transmission lines and gas pipelines under the project.
Back in 2017, the government took up a Tk. 991 crore project for land acquisition in Narayanganj and Chattogram. Under the project, the land acquisition for the Japanese economic zone is going on in Araihazar.

The day’s ECNEC meeting approved another project for constructing some 340 bridges on the upazila, union and village roads under 61 districts in all the eight divisions across the country to ensure better communication system involving an estimated cost of Tk. 1,983.07 crore to come from the state exchequer.

The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) under the Local Government Division will implement the project by June, 2023.

The Planning Minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the meeting asked the authorities concerned to give due emphasis on rail and waterways alongside the roads.
She also reiterated her plan for establishing an integrated communication system across the country comprising roads, railways, waterways and airways.

The premier directed the authorities concerned to prepare database of the handloom workers in the country and simplify the procedures of loan disbursement to them through allowing them opening of Tk.10 account.
The PM also asked the Ministries and the authorities concerned to conduct dredging in small rivers across the country to enhance navigability of those rivers.

She also underscored the need for protecting the ponds and water bodies before undertaking any project in the capital.

The other projects approved in the meeting are Providing running capital and modernization of hand looms for the hand loom workers with Taka 158 crore, Root and Tuber Crops Development Project with Taka 156.32 crore, Tulshiganga Chotojamuna, Chingri and Harabati River re-excavation project under Joypurhat district with Taka 123.47 crore, Dhaka City Neighborhood Upgrading Project with Taka 880.46 crore, Development and Renovation of temples and religious institutions with Taka 228.69 crore and formulation of profiles for the students at primary level with Taka 164.05 crore.

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