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Effective gold import policy needed

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11th-Jan-2018       
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THE price of gold has raised up to Tk 1,400 a bhori [11.664 gm] in the local market from Wednesday crossing the Tk 50,000 mark again within a span of only a few months. According to the newspaper reports, under the new price set up, a bhori of 22-karat gold will be sold at Tk 50,738 while 21-karat, 18-karat and traditional will be sold at Tk 48,406, Tk 43,157 and Tk 26,536 respectively. Bangladesh Jewellers Samity [BAJUS] pointed to the increasing international market rate as the prime reason behind the gold price hike in domestic level. To get a piece of gold ornament, the retail customers will have to count making charge and value-added tax too.

The price of the precious metal has hiked at a time when demands for gold ornaments have increased in domestic market as most of the wedding ceremonies are arranged in winter season. It is nothing new that jewellers usually target the weeding months.

In the local market, the price of the yellow metal has been fluctuating for a long time. It's a common trend of economy that gold prices go up in a bid to counterbalance the devaluating local currency and to keep up with the soaring international price. There is also another big reason - the gold price goes up when local currency taka loses its value against dollar.  In June last year, the taka was depreciated by 2.41 percent due to slower remittance and export and higher imports. Obviously, it's not a healthy sign of developing economy. We fear, the jewellers may go for price hike again, if the losing trend of taka doesn't stop and the rising trend of global gold price doesn't show any sign of easing.

The price-hike or devaluation both hurt the gold business, especially the consumers. In true sense, our gold industry is based on smuggling. It's an open secret that a large share of the smuggled gold is reportedly bought by the jewellers. So, the jewellers have no right to hostage the nation by hiking gold price in the name of increasing rate at international market as they do not depend on import.

We know, Bangladesh is used as a route for gold smuggling by Middle East-based syndicates getting support from a section of corrupt officials. The major portion of gold goes to world's largest gold market India. The gold is smuggled from Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Saudi Arabia, from where the top smugglers control the trade.

But for this unusual system, we cannot blame the jewelers. In fact, they are being slandered in the absence of a gold import policy. The high import duty under the baggage rules and the absence of any formal mechanism to import gold is forcing jewellery makers to become heavily dependent on smuggled gold. We do urge the government to introduce a time-befitting gold import policy in an urgent basis to control the thriving sector.


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