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Country sets out to import gold

  • Published at 10:13 pm December 2nd, 2019
The government has opened up gold import with Bangladesh Bank starting issuing dealership licence Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

BB issues dealership licence to 18 companies

Bangladesh Bank has approved the first-ever dealership licence for gold import to a private bank and 17 businesses, aiming to stop smuggling and ensure transparency in the trade of the precious metal. 

The central bank handed over the copy of dealership licence to the representatives of the companies on Sunday. The companies got temporary licence for two years. 

The companies are Modhumoti Bank, Diamond World, Jewellery House, Rotno Gold Corner, Aroosa Gold Corp, Amin Jewellers, Sreeja Gold Palace, Jarwa House, Milon Bazar, SQ Trading And Eng, MK International, Amin Jewellers Ltd, Buraq Commodities Exchange Co, Golden World Jewellers, Riya Jewellers, Laxmi Jewellers, BDEX Gold and Diamond and D Damas The Art of Jewellery. 

Earlier, the central bank called for application for the appointment of gold dealers from March 19 to September 30 this year under the gold import policy, said a Bangladesh Bank senior official. 

“A total of 47 companies applied for licence. Of them, 18 have been allowed to import gold after scrutinizing,” he added. 

Talking to Dhaka Tribune, Bangladesh Bank General Manager Mohammad Khurshid Wahab said that the central bank approved the temporary dealership licence for two years considering whether the applicants had a trade licence, an office and if they were loan defaulters.

If the import activities of the companies were satisfactory, the licence would be renewed, he added. 

The annual local demand for gold of the country is around 20 to 40 tons. But 80% of the demand was met by smuggled gold as there was no opportunity to import gold in a legal way, said BB officials. 

As a result, the government was losing huge revenue every year from this sector. In this context, the gold import policy was formulated in October last year, they added. 

According to BB gold import guidelines, the licencees would be able to import gold from authorized dealers and producers. Besides, they would sell gold to jewellers who would use the metal to make ornaments. In the case of import of gold for export purposes, back-to-back import facility would be offered. 

The gold dealership licences will remain valid for two years and will be renewed upon payment of Tk2 lakh in fees along with complying with other conditions, according to guidelines. 

As per BB guidelines, individual-owned companies, joint ventures and limited companies must have minimum Tk1 crore in net worth as per their updated income tax returns. Besides, bullion vault along with adequate safety measures has been made mandatory for the safekeeping of gold to be imported by the dealers.

The government enacted the gold policy with a view to becoming a gold-ornament exporting country and preventing Bangladesh from being used as a channel for gold smuggling for the neighbouring countries. 

Apart from making ornaments for the local market sales, jewellers would be allowed to export ornament items and they would get incentives for value addition, according to the gold policy.

Under the policy, dealers would be able to import gold without paying any tax except value-added taxes.

Currently, a passenger can bring 100 grams of gold to the country without duty and 234 grams with paying duty under the baggage rules of NBR.

In recent years, confiscation of smuggled gold at the airports has increased due mainly to lack of any legal channel of importing gold in the country. Over the past nine years to March 2018, the NBR seized about 4,130.425 kg illegally imported gold at different airports, according to NBR data.

The gold import guidelines would help bring transparency in import, check gold smuggling, and increase supply of the precious metal and export gold jewelleries, believe sector people.