Bangladesh has received investment proposals worth US$1.0 billion from China, Japan, India, South Korea as the global economy has bounced back strongly overcoming the Covid-19 fallouts.
The increasing number of investment proposals for the country, after successfully tackling the Covid-19 situation, indicates a sign of significant rise in investment in fiscal year 2021-22, said a Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) official.
Most investment proposals are made for manufacturing non-apparel products that will help Bangladesh come out of its dependence on a single sector readymade garment, sources added.
At present, BEPZA contributes to around 20 per cent of the country's total annual exports, of which 64 per cent account for non-RMG items.
According to BEPZA, the investment in the export processing zones increased by 15 per cent in the last fiscal year and it will increase in the current fiscal year.
"We expect a 20 per cent to 25 per cent jump in growth by the fiscal 2022-23 with the inclusion of the $100 crore investment that has remained in the pipeline," said a BEPZA official.
He said Asian investors are coming to Bangladesh as investors are shifting from China owing to rising labour costs in the country.
"We are now benefiting from the US-China trade war. Some foreign investors are shifting their businesses to Bangladesh from Myanmar too," the official added.
At present, China tops the list in terms of investments in Bangladesh. Besides, investors from India, Japan, and South Korea are also coming here, he said.
Rising labour cost in China and high tariffs imposed because of the US-China trade war have prompted Asian investors to choose Bangladesh, said BEPZA Executive Chairman Major General Md Nazrul Islam in a programme recently.
We've signed an investment deal with Germany recently. Investments are flowing in for the manufacturing of non-RMG products such as high-quality leather goods, zipper, button, backward linkage products and outdoor tents,' said the official.
Some 90 per cent of the investment proposals that they have received since January this year are from Asian countries, according to BEPZA.
Since January, 2021, BEPZA) has signed a $56.33 million new investment agreement with seven companies.
Among them, five companies are foreign owned by South Korea, Sri Lanka and China as well as two companies from host country Bangladesh.
Japanese investors have sought 50 plots in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar located in Mirsarai, Chattogram for setting up 50 industries. They will invest in manufacturing field items, golf shafts and various other products.
"We have formed a committee to review their proposal. But we cannot allocate 50 plots as we have a huge load of investment proposals," said the BEPZA official.
Among current foreign investors, China has the highest number, 109 enterprises in export processing zones, followed by South Korea 71, Japan 31 and India 20, according to BEPZA.
There are 459 enterprises now in operation in export processing zones, of which 70 per cent are foreign ones. The total investments in the country's eight export processing zones stood at $5.67 billion as of August this year, according to BEPZA.
With foreign investment continuing to swell up, BEPZA started to construct three new export processing zones in Patuakhali, Jashore and Gaibandha.