Japan eyes three special economic zones (SEZs), including the one at Araihajar, Narayanjanj, to give a big boost to Japanese investment in Bangladesh but things depend on the success of the first one, says Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Naoki Ito.
“This (Araihajar EZ) should provide the best possible environment and the best possible incentives for the investors,” he said, adding that a special economic zone is a very important key to invite an increasing number of Japanese companies to invest in Bangladesh.
Ambassador Ito said he has been advocating that Araihajar should be the best possible economic zone in Asia, beating its rivals in countries like Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines.
The envoy said they will look into opportunities at Mirsarai under Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar, being developed on a contiguous land of 30,000 acres, and a possible economic zone in Maheshkhali-Matarbari area if Araihajar becomes successful.
He shared the plans on the three potential economic zones for the Japanese investors in Bangladesh while responding to questions at a virtual dialogue titled “Bangladesh-Japan Relations: Prognosis for the Future” where he delivered the keynote speech.
Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Cosmos Group, hosted the dialogue as part of its ongoing Ambassador’s Lecture Series.
The opening remarks were delivered by the Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan. The session was chaired by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, renowned scholar-diplomat and former Advisor on Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Caretaker Government.
Md Abul Kalam Azad, Special Envoy, Climate Vulnerable Forum; Hayakawa Yuho, Chief Representative, JICA Bangladesh Office; Dr Salehuddin Ahmed, former Governor, Bangladesh Bank; Prof Masaaki Ohashi, Professor, University of the Sacred Heart, Tokyo; Manzurul Huq, Columnist, writer and academic; Prof Takahara Akio, Dean, Graduate School of Public Policy, the University of Tokyo and Ambassador (Retd) Tariq A Karim, Honorary Advisor Emeritus, Cosmos Foundation comprised the panel of discussants.
Ambassador Ito said the Economic Zone at Araihajar will be ready for its operation by the end of the next year.