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Govt creates 'Land Bank' for economic zones

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Economic Reporter :
Principal Coordinator on SDG Affairs in Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad on Thursday said the government has created a 'land bank' of one lakh acres for establishing economic zones, especially in the south belt, of which 35,000 acres have already been acquired and handed over to BEZA.
"The government has done a mapping in line with the goals and targets of SDGs and the ministries concerned have been given the tasks of implementation," he added.
Azad was speaking as chief guest at a round table discussion on "Potential Roles and Challenges of Private Sector to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals" organized by Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI)at DCCI auditorium, said a press release.
Emphasizing the need of resource mobilization for financing issues and skill development, he urged the private sector to invest in the economic zones and said: "The government will facilitate the private sector by providing electricity and gas".
The Principle coordinator also asserted that the present GDP growth has been achieved because of the private sector.
Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) President Barrister Nihad Kabir and Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Mahbubul Alam were present as special guests while former DCCI President Asif Ibrahim moderated the open discussion session.
Senior Research Fello of BIDS Dr. Nazneen Ahmed presented a keynote paper. She highlighted how the goals of SDG 8, 9 and 12 are directly linked with the private sector.
"To explore our own market, we have to increase our investment," said Nazneen, adding, "In order to increase investment, corporate tax rate should be reduced along with establishment of a long-term regulatory framework."
Nihad Kabir said a participatory role both from public and private sector will expedite the work to achieve SDGs. She laid emphasis on technology and vocational education.
Mentioning that financing for SDG will not be a problem as Bangladesh may try to get the Green Climate Fund, the MCCI president underscored the importance of a transparent long-term regulatory framework.
To attain SDGs, strong institutional mechanism involving all stakeholders including public representatives, government, private sector, civil society, knowledge community and development partners are required, opined Mahbubul Alam.
In the welcome address, DCCI President Abul Kasem Khan said under SDGs, Bangladesh requires intense focus on employment generation for institutional capacity building.
He also pointed out the challenges that the private sector are facing such as want of affordable and reliable energy sources, inadequate technology, expensive compliance and preparedness measures, climate change impacts, outdated infrastructure facilities, high cost of doing business, weak regulatory framework including business process and lack of institutional capacity.
"We need policy continuity, consistency and cohesiveness for more engagement of private sector in attaining SDGs," he added.
CDP Senior Research Fellow Towfiqul Islam Khan, Director of Multimode Group Tafsir Mohammed Awal and PRI Research Director Dr. MA Razzaque were present as panel discussants.

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