Ishwardi Export Processing Zone, with employment opportunity of around 30,000 people, has been playing an important role in improving the socio-economic condition of the western region as well as the country.
Currently around 13,000 employees are working there. Development work of the EPZ, located at Ishwardi Upazila of Pabna district, has been going on in full swing and its full functioning with around 30,000 employees will start within a short period of time, officials said. A total of 19 export-oriented factories are running in Ishwardi EPZ and another 13 foreign companies from Hong Kong, India and China are interested to invest here soon, they said.
Of the factories running, nine are foreign, eight local and two joint ventures, they added.
Ishwardi EPZ was established in 2001 at Pakshey of Ishwardi Upazila with 290 industrial plots. Of them 80 percent have already been allotted to investors and allotment of rest of the plots will be completed this year.
Abdullah Al Mahbub, General Manager of Ishwardi EPZ, told the Bangladesh Post that many foreign and local companies have shown interest to invest here.
As a result, remaining 50 plots will be distributed within this year, he expected.
He said already some foreign companies from Hong Kong, Japan and India have signed arguments to invest here.
The families of many workers and officials working in different factories of Ishwardi EPZ have become financially self-sufficient, he said adding that the local economy is becoming dynamic.
Almost 13000 workers are working here, Mahbub said adding that if all the plots are allocated, some 25,000 to 30,000 people will work here, bringing about a revolutionary change in the socio-economic field in this region.
Ishaq Ali Malitha, Mayor of Pabna's Ishwardi municipality, said, “Foreign investment in Ishwardi EPZ has been increasing, new industries are being set up, employment of local unemployed youths is being created.”
This is very good news for the people of Ishwardi, he said adding that the government is sincerely working for the employment and well-being of the unemployed youth of the country.
He said that Ishwardi EPZ is playing a vital role to develop the country's economy including the economy of the region.
Not only that, the employment of unemployed youth of Ishwardi is the most joyous matter, he added. He hoped that more success will come from the EPZ in future.
Currently 19 export-oriented factories are functioning in Ishwardi EPZ.
Most of the foreign companies have come from South Korea, India, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Marshall Islands.
They are producing electronics and electrical goods, footwear and leather goods, wigs, tents, batteries, denim products, industrial gloves, garments and accessories, yarn, plastic goods, jute products, chemicals and fertilisers.
Another 13 factories are under construction which would start operations very soon.
The new investors from the United Kingdom, China, Australia, and Bangladesh are going to produce knitting and textile products, garments and accessories and cigars and cigarettes in the EPZ. Ishwardi EPZ enabled exports of $1 billion. On average every worker earns Tk 8,000 to Tk 10,000 a month here.
Nazma Binte Alamgir, general manager, public relations of Bepza, said the amount of export money is increasing in the Ishwardi EPZ.
At the EPZ area, Bepza's own security forces are patrolling all the time, she said adding that demand for water, gas and electricity is increasing as a result of increasing demand for setting up factories and production in this area.
BEPZA authorities are trying to meet these demands, she mentioned.