Vol. 5 Num 1046 Sat. May 12, 2007  

Economic zone to be set up in Sylhet soon
Says foreign affairs adviser

Adviser to Foreign Affairs Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury has said about one thousand acres of land would be acquired soon to set up an economic zone in Sylhet where expatriate Bangladeshis will be given priority for investment.

The present government is committed to creating an atmosphere for investment opportunities for the expatriates in real sense, he said, adding 'We have already started some three specific jobs in this respect, as the non-resident Bangladeshis (NRB) are also coming forward with a new vision".

All these are being done in line with the decisions of the planning ministry as well as the cabinet, he added.

The adviser was speaking as chief guest at the inaugural function of Hotel Garden Inn in the Sylhet city on Thursday night. Former adviser to the caretaker government Prof Brigadier General (retd) Abdul Malik, Pubali Bank Chairman Hafiz Ahmed Majumder and British-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce's Director General Dr Azizur Rahman addressed it as special guests.

Brigadier General (retd) Zubayer Siddiqui, Deputy Commissioner Zamal Hossain Majumder, District Bar association President Abdul Hai Khan, Press Club President Muktabis Un Noor, Sylhet Red Crescent Society's Vice-President Prof ANAA Mahbub Ahmed and Lt Colonel (retd) Syed Ali Ahmed also spoke on the occasion. Faruque Ahmed Misbah, managing director of the Man and Company, which owns the hotel, delivered the welcome address.

The adviser said the NBRs remained unattended for long due to lack of scope for their investment opportunities in Bangladesh.

"They are very interested to join hands for development of the country and now we want to create options for them", Chowdhury said, adding the proposed economic zone will provide lands and other facilities for setting up industrial units of different natures, where the expatriates will be given priority for investment.

Referring to his recent contacts with the different officials of the British government, the foreign affairs adviser said DFID will be involved with the process of setting up a caterers' training institute of international standard in Sylhet soon.

It will be done with a view to meeting the huge demand of semi-skilled and skilled workers for the 12,000 Bangladeshi owned restaurants in the UK. The British-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce has come up with certain proposals for developing the country's linkage with the NRBs, he added.

The runway of Osmani International Airport will be extended to 10,5000 feet by June this year, so that wide bodied planes of all types can operate, he said.

Earlier on the day, the adviser visited some prospective sites for the proposed economic zone and the ongoing development works at the Osmani International Airport.