Ishwardi Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is built on 308.97 acres of land in Pakshi area of Ishwardi Upazila under Pabna district. Its construction started in 1996. After the inauguration of this EPZ on January 13, 2001, the production and export of products started. Ishwardi EPZ is on the preferred list of investors as it is a low cost labor facility, easy rail and road connectivity and an agricultural area. The number of factories and production of products increased. There are more women workers than men in this industrial area. Bepza officials said that EPZ has not been affected due to the ongoing Ukraine-Russia situation.
According to the export processing area, a total of 21 domestic and foreign industries are currently operating in Ishwardi EPZ. 15 industrial establishments are under implementation. All the plots in Ishwardi EPZ have already been allotted to the investors as per the demand. From January 2021 to June 2022, two new factories have been commissioned in Ishwardi EPZ. Apart from domestic companies, companies from different countries of the world including Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Pakistan, India, Italy have set up their factories in this EPZ.
The source also said that till June this year, the number of workers working in Ishwardi EPZ is 16 thousand 278 people. Among them 11 thousand 854 women and 4 thousand 424 male workers. More than half a hundred foreign nationals are also working here.
Apart from Ishwardi, there are 7 more Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in the country. These are Dhaka EPZ, Uttara EPZ, Chittagong CEPZ and Karnaphuli EPZ, Narayanganj Adamji EPZ, Nilphamari EPZ and Comilla EPZ. Ishwardi EPZ has been recognized as a suitable place for local and foreign investors to set up industries due to the creation of facilities and adequate security zone. The products made in the factories here are also attracting buyers. Ishwardi EPZ is well positioned in terms of export value. Ishwardi EPZ ranks 7th among the eight EPZs in the country in terms of exports.
Meanwhile, the amount of product export from Ishwardi EPZ is increasing every year. In the financial year 2021-2022, a total of 209.06 million US dollars worth of goods were exported from Ishwardi EPZ. Apart from this, 131.39 million US dollars in the financial year 2017-18, 150.22 million US dollars in the financial year 2018-19, 125.46 million US dollars in the financial year 2019-20, 159.72 million US dollars in the financial year 2020-21 and 2021 -209.06 million USD worth of products were exported from Ishwardi EPZ as per demand in different countries of the world in FY22. As per the above details, the export earnings increased by 30.89 percent in the last financial year as compared to the previous years.
On inquiry, it is known that Ishwardi EPZ has its own sub-station for power supply. Water and gas supply system has also been guaranteed. Batteries, processed plastics, agglomerates, textile chemicals, plain poly, readymade garments, craft, artificial hair, garment accessories and other biochemical products are being produced in Ishwardi EPZ factories.
When contacted, Bepza Public Relations Department General Manager (GM) Najma binte Alamgir told Bangladesh Post that three levels of security are being ensured at Ishwardi EPZ. Round-the-clock security is ensured by Bepza's own security forces and Ansar forces. Each factory ensures safety by appointing their own security personnel. Apart from this, the entire zone is under 24-hour CCTV surveillance.
Uninterrupted gas, electricity and water supply to the factories has been ensured by Bepza. The bulk of the exports of Ishwardi EPZ come from readymade garments and allied sectors. Export earnings in Ishwardi EPZ increased by 30.89 percent in the last financial year. Overall the present condition of Ishwardi EPZ is good. Export earnings from Ishwardi EPZ will increase in the coming years. He said that currently 21 factories are operating in this EPZ. There are 15 factories under implementation. All 209 plots have been allotted as per demand.
GM Najma Binte Alamgir also said that country's first eco-friendly Lead Platinum certified green factory M/s Vintage Denim Studio Limited is one of the Bangladeshi made clothing companies in Ishwardi EPZ. Financial stability has come to the families of many workers and officials working in various factories of Ishwardi EPZ. The local economy is becoming dynamic. In response to a question, this official said that due to the Russia-Ukraine situation, the export of Ishwardi EPZ products has not been affected so far. However, it is difficult to say at this point whether there will be any impact on future exports if the war continues.