Dhaka, Aug 20: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday asked the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authorities (BEZA) to take more steps to promote the small entrepreneurs, especially the youthfolk, in making investments in special economic zones alongside attracting foreign investments to further accelerate the country’s pace of socioeconomic development.
“We’ve to work to encourage the small entrepreneurs, particularly the youthfolk, in making investments (in the 100 special economic zones) instead of running after jobs to further speed up the pace of socioeconomic progress of the country,” she told the 7th meeting of the BEZA’s governing body virtually.
The premier simultaneously directed all concerned to go for industrialisation alongside agricultural development by wooing local and foreign investments aimed at creating job opportunities by protecting the arable lands and environment as well.
Sheikh Hasina joined the virtual meeting through a videoconference from her official Gangbhaban residence, while the other governing body members got connected from the Prime Minister’s Office snd Bangladesh Secretariat.
“There is no doubt that our economy depends on the agriculture. But, we need more industrialisation as no country can prosper without it (industrialisation),” she said.
The premier, however, stressed the need for saving the arable lands to ensure food security of a huge population despite the fact that the country’s land size is small.
Sheikh Hasina, also chairman of the governing body, the highest policy-making body of BEZA, also instructed all concerned to maintain the environmental balance in case of industrialisation as her government has already adopted the Delta Plan to this end.
“We’ve selected specific areas for establishing 100 special economic zones mainly to protect the arable lands and the environment as well,” she said.
The premier said the government wants planned industrialisation across the country to raise employments and production to meet the growing demands of the countrymen alongside increasing exports.
In this connection, she said that special economic zones are being set up at different parts of the country (instead of centering only the capital or ports) aimed at using the crops, that are produced especially in a particular zone, to use those as rawmaterials in food processing industries.
“Ensuring overall development of the country is the main goal of our government, and that’s why we’re continuing our efforts for industrial development and thus creating more employment opportunities,” the prime minister said.
Sheikh Hasina reiterated her optimism that the country would further advance socioeconomically despite the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy including Bangladesh.