Category: Gold News, News

Jewellers seek policy support to facilitate gold import

Bajus Fair-2024 kicks off


FE REPORT
| Published: February 09, 2024 23:41:38


Economists and jewellers on Friday sought the government’s policy support to facilitate gold import and whiten the existing gold stock in the country.
They demanded that the existing policy should be reformed that gold can be a part of the country’s economy.
Industry insiders also lamented that they could hardly get bank loans for business due the existing gold policy.
They were addressing a seminar marking inauguration of “Bajus Fair-2024”.
Bangladesh Jewellery Samity (Bajus) organised the seminar on “Financing challenges and actions in the development of the jewellry industry”.
Biru Paksha Paul, former chief economist of Bangladesh Bank, presented the keynote paper where he said that the problem lies in recognising jewelry as a formal industry.
“Only 10 per cent of the gold is recycled and the rest comes to the country through informal channels which we don’t recognise, he said.
Why is this ‘hide and seek’ about gold import?, he raised the question.
“To integrate jewelry industry with the formal economy, policy reform is crucial,” he said.
Source identification of gold stock is a major challenge for the banks to allow bank loans, said representatives of commercial banks at the seminar.
Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, addressed the event as the chief guest.
He termed whitening of gold stock in the domestic market as the main challenge of the industry.
“What I understand so far – the main problem is to whiten the stock (gold). Once the stock becomes white soon the other problems like banking facility (bank loan) get automatically solved,” he added.
If the government whitens the gold stoke, the government will get additional revenue as the informal economy (gold stock), he added.
As there are policy loopholes and it (gold stock) remains in the informal economy, the prime minister’s adviser believed that the government would extend policy support in this regard.
He also said SME financing could be an opportunity for the small traders.
“The potential of this sector is huge, including for export,” he said, urging the association to come forward with precise recommendations to get policy support.
Prof Tabassum Zaman, teacher of the Department of Economics, Jagannath University, said that Bangladesh should allow import of gold as there is no gold mine in the country.
Special guest Jasim Uddin, chairman, Bengal Commercial Bank, called for moving together with the NBR, central bank and commerce ministry to reform the policy to avoid any conflict among the regulators.
The speakers also said that local businessmen cannot survive if the neighbouring country offers gold at a lower price. They also called for a VAT holiday.
There are about 40,000 small and big gold traders in the country but there are hardly 1,000 skilled goldsmiths here, they added.
Asif Ibrahim, chairman, Chittagong Stock Exchange, Nizam Chowdhury, chairman, Global Islami Bank, and renowned bankers Shams Ul Islam and Mohammad Nurul Amin spoke, among others.
Sayem Sobhan Anvir, president, Bajus, presided over the seminar.

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