POST TIME: 13 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Carry on industrialisation sans affecting food production: PM
UNB, Dhaka

Carry on industrialisation sans affecting food production: PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday put emphasis on rapid industrialisation without reducing food production in the country. “Since our economy is agriculture-dependent one, industrialisation is badly needed for reducing dependency on agriculture,” she said while addressing the 34th meeting of the Board of Governors of the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA).

Sheikh Hasina, also the Chairperson of BEPZA Board of Governors, presided over the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office. She said industrialisation is essential to generate employment, increase export volume, internal demand and purchasing capacity, and improve socioeconomic condition of people alongside developing the country further.

The Prime Minister, however, said it is needed to be careful so that food production is not affected during industrialization.

“We’ll have to pay a special attention so that our food production doesn’t decline. Our goal is to increase food production and ensure food safety with the rise in our population. The demand for food will never fall in the world. Instead, it’s increasing day by day,” she said adding, “We’ll have to go ahead with the industrialisation protecting the environment.”

She praised the role of BEPZA in the industrialisation process saying that BEPZA has been contributing enough to this end. “So, Bangladesh is receiving local and foreign investments.”

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh is the most attractive destination for investment as her government has been able to create this environment. “Bangladesh is the most lucrative place for investment and this situation must be maintained.”

This investment-friendly atmosphere has been created due to young workforce, prolong political stability and continuation of democratic process, said Sheikh Hasina.

The Prime Minister said the government is setting up 100 special economic zones in the country alongside export-processing ones.

At the meeting, BEPZA Executive Chairman Major General SM Salahuddin Islam made a presentation on the activities of the regulatory body and the implementation process of decisions taken in the 33th meeting of the BEPZA board of governors.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun, Textiles and Jute Minister Golam Dastagir Gazi, State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid, State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and State Minister for Labour and Employment Begum Munnujan Sufian were present on the occasion. PM's Principal Secretary Md

Nojibur Rahman conducted the meeting. PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan and PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were, among others, present. Focusing on the success of the EPZs, the BEPZA executive chairman said the eight EPZs (Export Processing Zones) set up only on 2307 acres of land have been contributing to the country’s economy as their contributions to export is 19-20 percent while to foreign investment 20-25 percent.

The number of industries has increased to 475 from 279 in the last 10 years due to the government’s investment friendly policies. The total investment in the EPZs now stands at US$ 5.09 billion, which was only US$ 1.51 billion in 2009, he said.

The annual export volume from the industrial units of the EPZs increased to US$ 7.5 billion in 2018-19 fiscal year from only US$ 2.58 billion in 2008-09. A total of 5,21,561 people are employed at the EPZs and 3,18,114 of them have been employed in the last 10 years, said SM Salahuddin Islam.

The 10 agenda of the meeting included re-fixation of the rate of rent for industrial plots and factory buildings in EPZs, implementation progress of decisions taken in the 33rd meeting of the BEPZA Board of Governors, setting up an EPZ in Jashore district for the socioeconomic uplift of the southwestern region of the country, setting up ‘Rangpur Export Processing Area’ at Sahebganj inside Rangpur Sugar Mill, establishment of industrial plots and construction factory buildings for investors at the place allocated for the container terminal of Adamji EPZ and retrospective approval of the MoU signed between BEPZA and BEZA to set up ‘BEPZA Economic Zone’ at Mirsarai in Chattogram.