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Govt must intervene: Muhit

Ghostly affairs in gold market

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12th-Aug-2018       
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Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
The government has decided to intervene in the gold market by fixing prices of the precious metal at reasonable level.
The decision has been taken amid widening gap of the gold prices between the local and international market and unabated entry of the yellow metal into the country through illegal channel.
"Ghostly affairs has been continuing in the gold market over the years.  It has been imperative to free the market from the ghostly affairs. And that can be done by fixing the domestic gold prices at reasonable level since the price difference between the local and international market is illogical," Finance Minister AMA Muhith wrote in a note to Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
In the note, Muhith mentioned that the domestic gold prices now stands at Tk 40,000 per bhori showing Tk 14,000 higher from that of the international market.
He said the government imposed Tk 3000 VAT on March 7, 2011 on import of per bhori gold in line with a recommendation of the           Commerce Ministry. But the government has failed to realise even a single penny as VAT till the date indicating gold import totally stopped and since then illegal gold market is flourishing.       
"This is not acceptable in any way. We have to take drastic step to overcome the situation. But the step should come from the government's highest level," said Muhith in the note written on August 1.   
According to an estimate, the overall annual demand of gold is around 35-40 tonnes for the local gold industry.
Of which, around 10 per cent of demand is met from recycled gold. The lion share of the demand of fresh gold weighing 24-32 tonnes is met from smuggled gold.
Muhith in the note motioned that there is no information regarding the total amount of gold held by the people and traders in the country.
Irked by the prevailing situation of the gold market, Muhith said the government should fix a logical gold prices prior to finalise the gold import policy.
Muhith added the government will also encourage export of gold ornaments through giving policy support to the export-oriented traders.
"We will fix separate tax for import of gold and export of ornaments in order to introduce a new gold regime in the country. The new regime will be introduced through issuing a Statuary Regulatory Order (SRO)."  
He, however, proposed to form a Secretary-level committee to complete the whole task. The committee would make necessary recommendations in this regard and place before the Cabinet for its approval. 

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