International donors have agreed to offer Bangladesh US$200 million for setting up three special economic zones (SEZs) in the country.
The amount will be provided under the Private Sector Development Project (PSDP), which is designed in the light of the poverty reduction strategy.
The assurance came at a meeting Thursday between Finance and Planning Minister M Saifur Rahman and the representatives of donor agencies in the city.
Executive Chairman of the Board of Investment (BoI) Mahmudur Rahman was present at the meeting.
Coming out of the meeting, the BoI executive chief said: "The donors have agreed to provide assistance for establishment of three special economic zones".
"The donors community will initially provide $200 million to facilitate the establishment of the SEZs. Though the idea of setting up SEZs is new in this country, it will help improve the investment environment for infrastructure development," Rahman who is also the Adviser to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, told the newsmen.
Representatives from the World Bank (WB), the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the European Commission, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) were, among others, present at the meeting.
The BoI top boss said that from now on, the WB would be investing in heavy industries, light engineering and pharmaceuticals sectors.
Besides, the WB-financed training programme designed to train up mid-level bureaucrats would continue, he added.
Under this project, there will be 'clusters of ministries' where transfers of officials will be made within, he pointed out.
Unlike the existing Export Processing Zones (EPZs), a SEZ is a particular area that has economic laws different from the country's usual legal framework. It aims to attract foreign investment in a big way.
Private sector experts say the establishment of SEZs has yielded positive results in many countries around the world, including China, India, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Mauritius.