Bangladesh’s PM Hasina Inaugurates the Japanese Economic Zone: is It Helpful for the Bangladeshi Garments Industry?

Bangladesh's PM Hasina Inaugurates the Japanese Economic Zone: is It Helpful for the Bangladeshi Garments Industry

The economy of a developing nation like Bangladesh is heavily dependent on the production of clothing. The economy of our nation is heavily dependent on sectors like the very lucrative clothing industry. The export of high-quality clothing products to other nations generates a significant amount of foreign exchange.

For the past 25 years, Bangladesh’s garment industry has been its principal export sector and source of foreign currency. Currently, the nation produces $5 billion worth of goods each year through the export of clothing. Three million people are employed in the sector, 90% of whom are women.

On December 6, 2022, the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone, also known as the Japanese Economic Zone, officially opened. This region is expected to draw investment from Japan and other countries.

Bangladesh’s PM Sheikh Hasina Inaugurates Japanese Economic Zone

It was opened by prime minister Sheikh Hasina in Narayanganj’s Araihazar neighborhood. According to Shaikh Yusuf Harun, executive chairman of Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA), several Japanese investors will sign contracts at the occasion. When the economic zone is fully operational, it will attract investments totaling more than $1.5 billion and will principally employ over 100,000 people.

In a government-to-government (G2G) process, Sheikh Hasina officially opened the Japanese Economic Zone from Ganabhaban in Dhaka. The Japanese Economic Zone has been created there on a 1,000-acre plot of land following a deal that was struck between the two nations in 2014 during her visit to Japan.

Early Planning of the Japanese Economic Zone

When Sheikh Hasina visited Japan in 2014, the idea to create an EZ specifically for Japan was born. Later, in 2016, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched an initiative to conduct a feasibility study, and in 2019, the Japanese company Sumitomo Corporation signed an agreement with the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) to create the Bangladesh Special Economic Zone.

How the Japanese Economic Zone is Helpful for the Bangladeshi Garments Industry

To increase both foreign and domestic investment for mutual benefit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina referred to Bangladesh as the best investment destination in the world.

  • In the zone, Singer has already begun building its infrastructure, and a contract with the German business Rudolf has already been signed.
  • According to Bangladeshi media, Singer will initially contribute $79 million, while chemical manufacturer Rudolf would invest $7 million.
  • Additional 30 Japanese businesses as well as 10 businesses from other countries have expressed interest in investing in the zone.
  • Another proposal for the creation of a special economic zone for Chinese investors is also pending approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
  • The PM remarked, “Investment from abroad is entering the economic zones. Bangladeshi economic zones are being discussed with Saudi Arabia, China, and India. Other nations have also shown interest in achieving this goal.”

How Japan Cooperated to Create the Japanese Economic Zone

PM Sheikh Hasina referred to Japan as a genuine ally and partner in Bangladesh’s development, noting that Japan is now assisting in the construction of Dhaka’s metro rail, the third terminal of Shahjalal International Airport, and the Matharbari deep seaport.

She also recalled the Japanese assistance in the construction of the Rupsha Bridge and the carrying out of the Padma Bridge and Bangabandhu Bridge over the Jamuna River feasibility study.

The prime minister thanked the current Japanese prime minister for his support of her nation as well as the late Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for his contributions to Bangladesh’s overall growth.

ITO Naoki, the Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh, and Masayuki Hyodo, the president and CEO of the Sumitomo Corporation Group, both delivered remarks at the ceremony’s opening.

Construction of the Japanese Economic Zone

According to Chairman Shaikh Yusuf Harun, the first stage of the 500 acres of land development work under the Japanese Economic Zone Infrastructure Development Project is nearly finished, along with the building of connection roads, retention ponds, and electricity and water delivery systems.

Internal roads, gas, power, and water supply lines have all begun construction. The Bangladesh Special Economic Zone has received 180 acres of developed land so far for the construction of industrial units. According to Shaikh Yusuf Harun, the remaining lands would be distributed soon.

Beza estimates that the Bangladeshi government owns 24% of the company, followed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) with 15% and Sumitomo Corporation with 61%.

In the Japanese Economic Zone, an independent OSS Center and Skills Development Center will be established with technical assistance from Japan International Cooperation. The executive chairman of Beza stated, “When the entire zone is functioning, we estimate 50,000 jobs.”

PM Sheikh Hasina’s Vision for the Bangladeshi Garments Industry

“Bangladesh is the most perfect country in the world for investing because we provide the most opportunity. I, therefore, expect that foreign investment will flow here and that locals would also invest in their nation ” PM Sheikh Hasina said during the opening of the Japanese Economic Zone.

Due to its geographic location, the prime stated that Bangladesh might be a market of 300 crore people with 17 crores of its own, 50 crores in the east, 150 crores in the north, and 50 crores in the west. She also said that foreign investors from around the world can gain greatly from Bangladesh’s sizable market. According to her, Bangladesh is providing particular chances for investors, and they may ship their manufactured goods via the seaports of Chattogram, Mongla, Payra, and Matharbari.

She added that by safeguarding the nation’s environment and arable areas, her government has given planned industrialization equal attention to agriculture. The prime minister also announced that her administration is creating 100 economic zones across the nation to stop uncontrolled industrialization and save fertile areas.

Land acquisition for the Japanese Economic Zone-2 has been completed, and a proposal for the creation of another special economic zone for Chinese investors is pending approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The Japanese Economic Zone is truly doing wonders for the Bangladeshi Garments Industry.