The first-ever economic zone in the country's hoar areas is set for a launch in Kishoreganj, 90km from the capital Dhaka, with the Indian Tata Group going into production of pickups in March.
It is expected to create 2,000 jobs initially, and then in five years, the figure will gradually increase to 20,000, says Nitol Niloy Group, which is developing the Kishoreganj Economic Zone.
The factory, being set up for Tk500 crore, will manufacture 2,000 pickups a year, according to Nitol Niloy Group, the auto giant's local partner in Bangladesh.
Abdul Matlub Ahmad, chairman of Nitol Niloy Group, said, "Tata has invested around Tk500 crore. It has completed all preparations including installation of machinery."
"The company will go into production next month. Apart from selling in the Bangladesh market, Tata Group also plans to export pickups to other countries such as Sri Lanka," added the founder of Nitol Niloy Group – the main thrust of which comes from marketing Tata brand of buses, trucks and pickups in Bangladesh.
He further said that all the land will be developed by June. Setting up of infrastructure and the factory are going on simultaneously. 60% of land development and 90% of wall construction has already been completed.
"Aside from Tata, Nitol Niloy Group is investing Tk600-900 crore in the tyre industry with an annual production capacity of 3.5 lakh units," Abdul Matlub said.
"Investments are expected in other sectors such as light engineering. In all, an investment of Tk2,000crore will come in this economic zone. Hopefully, in 2023, all the companies will go into production," he added.
Nitol Niloy Group is developing the zone adjacent to Bhairab-Kishoreganj Highway in Pakundiaupazila with the approval of the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority (Beza).
Abdul Matlub said the private economic zone, close to Bhairab, the gateway to the agro-based haor region, would easily attract investment and play a major role in the economic development of the area.
He said that in addition to the pickup and tyre industries, the Nitol Niloy Group wants to build a hub for light engineering in the zone where companies from India, China and Turkey are interested in building small factories.
They will manufacture car bumpers, lights, electronic car components in particular. These will be sold in Bangladesh and will be exported abroad, he added.
The Nitol Niloy Group has announced that its bus-truck tyre factory will be launched on a trial basis in December 2022. Necessary equipment will arrive in early January.
Matlub, also a business leader, said, "From 2023, we will be able to meet the entire local demand for tyres for buses and trucks. We will sell tyres under our brand – Nitoltyres and Niloytyres."
International hotels and restaurants in the offing
The economic zone is in a favourable location for cargo transportation and other communications. It is connected to the Bhairab-Kishoreganj 100-foot Highway.
The railway line, built by the zone authorities, is connected to the Bhairab-Kishoreganj line at the Gachihata Railway Station point and the distance of the zone from Ashuganj and Bhairab river ports is only 40km.
The zone will have waste management and water treatment plants. This will be the complete logistics zone. Its main entrance will have state-of-the-art security such as active weight measurement. There will be reservoirs, recreation centres, state-of-the-art medical facilities and educational institutions.
The zone will have green forestry with a daycare facility. Separate buildings will be constructed for administrative work such as banks, insurance and government offices. Investors will enjoy the incentive package announced by Beza.
Also, there will be a one-stop service (OSS) facility, high-speed internet and other information technology, uninterrupted electricity and gas supplies. There will be international standard hotels and restaurants.
Beza is working towards establishing 100 economic zones across the country by 2030. The goal is to create employment for 10 million people directly as well as indirectly. It also expects to produce and export products worth $40 billion annually in and from these economic zones.