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WB project provides support for job creation

WB project provides support for job creation

The World Bank in cooperation with UK-DFID and IFC is supporting the government to develop new economic zones in Bangladesh through the Private Sector Development Support Project (PSDSP).
Economic zones are a strategic instrument for attracting domestic and foreign investment, creating jobs and accelerating growth, said a WB press release on Tuesday.
The project aims to promote diversified private sector investment by improving the business environment and access to industrial land through economic zones, as well as investing in training schemes to make human resources more responsive to enterprise needs. The PSDSP was restructured in July 2013 to bring changes in the size, activity and scope of the project for more effective implementation.
The PSDSP is providing support to the Jobs and Competitiveness Task Force, which was established by the Prime Minister in March 2013 to facilitate the creation of 15 million jobs by capturing some of the 80 million jobs currently leaving China due to rising costs in that country.
Converting 40,000 acres of land to economic zones is vital in this process and will be a top priority for the Task Force. This will require an initial inventory of available land.  State-owned enterprises which are lying dormant will be primary candidates for conversion to economic zones.
The Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (BEZA) has identified five new sites for the development of private economic zones, either wholly private zones or zones established under a public-private partnership.  BEZA has gone directly to the international developer market with a tender for the development of two sites, Mongla and Sirajganj.  For additional three sites (two in Chittagong and one in Sylhet), BEZA is conducting feasibility studies with PSDSP support.
In addition to the Kaliakor Hi-Tech Park, the Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) has also identified several other sites in Jessore and Sylhet with potential for the development of Hi-Tech Parks.  The BHTPA is currently conducting feasibility studies and making plans for constructing last-mile infrastructure to prepare the sites for private sector development and operation.
All these activities support the immediate primary goal of the PSDSP — to grant a license to at least one private developer of an economic zone.  This will encourage other developers to do the same and allow Bangladesh to create millions of jobs over the next decade.
The project also continues to assist the existing export processing zones and the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA), especially in the areas of social and environmental monitoring and compliance systems. The PSDSP will assist with establishing a Green Zones Unit to coordinate all the environmental issues in the EPZs.
Other initiatives under the project are: providing training to the CEOs of 25 companies under the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) Institute of Technology and Management (BITM), facilitating ISO 9000 certification for select companies in the IT industry, and piloting ISO 14000 certification for companies located in economic zones. – UNB