A key hurdle has surfaced over setting up of the country's first-ever Hi-Tech Park at Kaliakoir as the authorities have issued a fresh letter inviting bidders to participate in re-blocking negotiation of the park.
Re-blocking means that the project will be split into three parts and awarded to more than one developer.
The Bangladesh Hi-Tech Park Authority (BHTPA) issued a letter signed by its managing director Md Azizur Rahman inviting the bidders to participate in negotiation at its office today (July 22).
BHTPA under the ministry of science and information and communication technology will provide lands to the successful bidder and it (bidder) will develop infrastructure and attract renowned foreign IT and electronics manufacturers to the park.
Sources at the participating companies said the re-blocking is a complete violation of the request for proposal (RFP) clauses of the tender documents.
The authorities had earlier invited expressions of interest and later sought proposals to build basic infrastructure of the park which will create a congenial atmosphere for establishing an industry there based on ICT, engineering, electronics, telecommunication, biotechnology and other related knowledge.
However, a senior official at the BHTPA told the FE Thursday: "This is a big project, and for this we want to split the lands into three parts."
He said the authorities deserve some rights that are not included in the tender documents.
However, a Malaysian firm that participated in the bid responded to the BHTPA letter saying that the re-blocking proposal doesn't come under the provision of PPR (public procurement regulations) and PPP (public private partnership) guidelines.
It has sent a letter to the BHTPA that reads: "Being a government entity, Kulim Technology Park Corporation is very much concerned about the legitimacy and the transparency. Because of Kulim's worldwide reputation, it doesn't expect any future legal complications as well as corruption allegations related to Kulim's any present or future projects."
It also said the fresh proposal by the BHTPA conflicts with the bidding procedures and the negotiation clause under PPR.
It also urged the authorities to postpone the negotiation meeting set for today.
Sources at the Kulim Technology Park Corporation which has a big hi-tech project in Malaysia said it would be able to invest more than 1.0 billion US dollars in the park by the world's leading IT firms Microsoft and Intel there.
The major objectives of establishing High-Tech Park at Kaliakoir, Gazipur are to attract foreign companies to set up operations in Bangladesh.
Kaliakoir Hi-Tech Park will provide both domestic and foreign investors with land for industrial or commercial use as well as standard factory buildings for electronic, mechanical and other allied factories.
Bangladesh took the move for setting up of the hi-tech park to boost its export basket with ICT and high-valued products.
Entry into export market in high technology area is very much restrictive on many counts and lack of hi-tech parks is one of them.
Apart from this, this is would also be quite useful for Bangladesh, with large trade imbalance, if import substitution products could be produced in the park.