Bangladesh: New Factory Draws Ire

    Health activists have criticized plans to build a new tobacco factory in Bangladesh, reports The Financial Express.

     Asian Tobacco recently signed an agreement with the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) to establish a modern cigarettes and tobacco processing plant in the Ishwardi Export Processing Zone.

    The company will reportedly invest $2 billion to produce 1.2 billion cigarettes and 73,205 kg of tobacco annually.

    Voices for Interactive Choice & Empowerment (VOICE) said the move goes directly against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s vision to make Bangladesh a tobacco-free nation by 2040.

    “Permitting a tobacco company to establish a new factory in the country directly contradicts with the prime minister’s vision and what she said back in 2016 in the South Asian Speaker’s Summit on achieving the sustainable development goals,” said VOICE Executive Director Ahmed Swapan Mahmud.

    “If things continue this way, becoming a tobacco-free country by 2040 will remain as a dream.”