Sunday, June 23, 2024

Jewellery industry glitters on smuggled gold

Nearly 30,000 jewellery shop-owners in the country, including 1500 in the city, are forced to depend on smuggled gold due to cumbersome import procedure and high taxes.
“Our jewellery industry needs 16 to 30 tonnes of gold annually to meet the domestic demand,” said a leader of the Bangladesh Jewellery Samity (BJS). “There is no scope for importing gold because of the hurdles and time-consuming procedures. Besides, high taxes on import encourage gold smuggling,” he also said, adding that if gold is imported through proper channels, price of one bhori of gold ornaments will cost around Tk. 70,000-80,000.
“In the absence of a government policy, most of us depend on smuggled gold as it costs much less,” he told The Independent.
An investigation by The Independent at several jewellery shops located at Tantibazar in Old Dhaka, Bashundhara City, Karnaphuly Shopping complex, Twin Tower, Mouchak Market, Baitul Mukarram, Eastern Plaza and New Market shows that most of the ornaments at the stores are made of smuggled gold.
“About 70-80% ornaments in my shop are made of smuggled gold,” a shopkeeper at Twin Tower Shopping Complex told The Independent.
At the local markets, 22-carat gold ornaments were selling at Tk. 42,050 per bhori, 21-carat gold at Tk. 40,060 and 18-carat gold at Tk. 34,080.
BJS general secretary Dewan Aminul Islam Shahin, however, said, “Gold mainly comes from recycling and expatriates. We get gold from people coming from abroad. Expatriates supply over 10 per cent of the total demand in the country.”
He, however, agreed that the import policy is too cumbersome. “There is no way one can import gold bars directly,” he said.
“We can only import gold through opening letters of credit (LC) and have to pay 58 per cent tax, which is a lengthy and complex procedure. This has pushed the ornaments’ price up and beyond the reach of common people,” he added.
Regarding the huge amount of gold frequently seized at airports, Shahin said the gold that is smuggled in is, in fact, smuggled out to India again. “Indian smugglers use Bangladesh as a channel as the Indian government has recently increased the tax on gold import to 6.5 per cent,” he added.
Over the past 10 months, customs officers seized over 380 kg of gold at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. “The government has done nothing for the betterment of the industry. There is no direct import of liquid gold in our country. We sometimes buy gold from the Bangladesh Bank when there is an auction, but it is rarely held,” said Shahin.
“If the government introduces an exchange system to import gold through Bangladesh Bank’s nominated organisations, it would bring the industry under a system. It is a worldwide practice,” he added.
Commenting on the existing import policy, which is over 65 years old, BJS president Dilip Roy said, “It allows us to import gold, but it takes more than 15 days. That makes it difficult to adjust prices as the gold price fluctuates every day.”
“We want a comprehensive gold import policy explaining how we should get gold and at price it should be sold,” he added.
Roy said had the government introduced a separate gold import policy to ensure constant supply, the jewellers would have been able to sell ornaments at the global rate in the local market.
A jeweller at New Market said: “Bangladeshi jewellers make world-class ornaments which can be added to the export basket. Our products are in demand abroad due to their lightness and attractive designs. Our goldsmiths can make ornaments which are very light, compared to the ornaments made in the neighbouring countries. So, we have great opportunities to export gold ornaments.”

-With The Independent input

Related News

Over 1.04 crore animals sacrificed on Eid-ul-Adha this year

News Desk : A total of 1,04,08,918 animals were sacrificed across the country on the occasion of the holy Eid-ul-Azha this year. As many as 3, 67, 106 more animals were slaughtered this year compared to previous year, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock said in a press release on Tuesday. This year the ... Read more

9am-5pm office time to resume from Wednesday

News Desk : The public offices across Bangladesh are set to go back to old office timing from 9:00am to 5:00pm with Fridays and Saturdays being the weekly holidays as usual from Wednesday. The cabinet in its weekly meeting on June 3 decided restoring the old office timing between 9:00am and 5:00pm on weekdays ... Read more

5 magnitude earthquake jolts parts of Bangladesh

News Desk : A magnitude 5 earthquake jolted a large part of the country on Sunday (2 June) afternoon., including Dhaka. The quake struck at 2:44pm from a depth of about 110km, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department, and was centred in the Mawlaik area of Myanmar, 441 km southeast of Dhaka. The quake ... Read more

Over 2cr to be fed as daylong Vitamin ‘A’ plus campaign begins

News Desk : The National Vitamin A-plus campaign is being conducted with a target to feed the capsules to over 2.22 crore children, aged between six months and 59 months. The campaign started at 8am on Saturday (June 1) and will continue till 4pm. Feeding Vitamin A capsules prevents blindness in children, ensures normal ... Read more

Postponed notice fake, HSC exams on June 30 as per schedule

News Desk : The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams will be held on time as per previous announcement, beginning on 30 June. The routine deferring the exams for a month that is making rounds in social media, is fake, the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka said on Saturday. A circular ... Read more

3 month-long ban on fishing, tourism in Sundarbans begins

News Desk : The forest department has imposed this three-month ban on fishing and tourism in the Sundarbans. Local communities, including fishermen, wood and honey collectors, who depend on the Sundarbans for their livelihoods, are concerned about a three-month ban on all activities in the forest starting Saturday. The restriction applies to visitors, including ... Read more

Appellate Division upholds HC verdict on DU teacher Samia’s demotion

News Desk : The Appellate Division today (26 May) upheld the judgement of the High Court which declared illegal the demotion order of Dhaka University faculty Samia Rahman on charges of plagiarism. A four-member appellate bench headed by senior judge M Enayetur Rahim of the Appellate Division rejected the appeal of DU as invalid. ... Read more

3.2 million children at risk as Cyclone Remal hits Bangladesh coasts: UNICEF

News Desk : As Cyclone Remal hit the coastal areas of Bangladesh, over 8.4 million people, including 3.2 million children, are at high health, nutrition, sanitation, and safety risks, according to UNICEF. ‘Our thoughts go out to the children and their families at this critical moment as they endure the storm’s impact,’ said UNICEF ... Read more

Classes suspended at coastal area schools due to cyclone

News Desk : No classes will be held at schools in the coastal areas due to Cyclone Remal, said State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Mohibur Rahman. He said this after a meeting of the inter-ministerial disaster management coordination committee at the Secretariat on Sunday. According to a bulletin of the Met Office, ... Read more

Cyclone Remal forms over Bay, signal 7 at Payra and Mongla

News Desk : The deep depression over the east and west central Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclonic storm “Remal” at around 9:00 pm today and is expected to hit the country’s coasts between 6pm and 11:59pm tomorrow, according to the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). The Met Office asked the Payra and Mongla ... Read more

Admissions for Class XI start tomorrow

News Desk : The first phase of applications for Class XI admission for the 2024–2025 academic year will begin tomorrow, May 26, and run through June 11th. According to the XI class admission circular 2024-25, the online application system is divided into three phases with designated application windows, result announcements, and confirmation periods. Students ... Read more

Exam will not be postponed for Cyclone Remal: NU

News Desk : The National University has decided not to postpone the Introduction to Government Policy exam for 4th-year Political Science honours students for the academic year 2022, despite the warning for the approaching Cyclone Remal. The exam is scheduled to be held on Sunday (26 May) at 1:00pm, the same day that the ... Read more

Gold price cut by Tk 1,084 per bhori

News Desk : The prices of gold in the country’s local market witnessed a fall on Thursday as the Bangladesh Jewellers’ Association (Bajus) slashed the price of 22-carat gold by Tk 1,084 per bhori (11.664 grammes). The new rate for the precious metal will come into effect on Friday, BAJUS said in a press ... Read more

Don’t pay anyone for visas, or work permits: Italian envoy

News Desk : Italian Ambassador to Bangladesh, Antonio Alessandro, advised visa-seekers not to pay anyone for visas, emphasising that the embassy only charges small taxes and processing fees. “Our services are free except for these official fees,” he said today (21 May) following a meeting with Shofiqur Rahman Choudhury, the State Minister for Expatriates’ ... Read more

Bangladeshi mountaineer Babar Ali conquers Everest

News Desk : Babar Ali from Chattogram has summited Mount Everest and raised the red and green flag on the world’s highest peak. He reached the summit at 8:30am local time (8:45am Bangladesh time) on Sunday, proudly raising the red and green flag of Bangladesh. He began his journey on 1 April, after necessary ... Read more

Price of gold increases by Tk1,178 per bhori

The new rate will be effective from Sunday (19 May) News Desk : The Bangladesh Jewellers Association (Bajus) today (18 May) increased the price of gold by Tk1,178 per bhori, followed by a price hike in the local bullion market. According to a Bajus statement, 22-carat gold will now cost Tk1,18,460 per bhori (11.664 ... Read more

9 Bangladeshis named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list

News Desk : Nine Bangladeshis have been named in Forbes “30 Under 30 Asia” list for their contributions across various industries. Forbes announced its prestigious “30 Under 30 Asia” list for the ninth consecutive year yesterday (15 May), showcasing 300 exceptional young individuals under the age of 30 who are making significant strides across ... Read more

SC Stays HC Verdict On Condemn Cell

News Desk : The Appellate Division on Wednesday stayed a High Court verdict that asked the jail authorities not to put death sentence inmates in the solidarity confinement before the end of all legal processes. The Appellate Division judge in chamber, Justice M Enayetur Rahim, granted the stay after hearing an appeal filed by ... Read more

BRTA to take ‘no helmet, no fuel’ policy for bikers

News Desk : Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has decided to take a “no helmet, no fuel” approach for motorcycle riders across the country. Besides, no battery-run auto-rickshaws will be allowed to operate in Dhaka, according to decisions taken at a meeting ... Read more

MV Abdullah finally arrives at Ctg port

News Desk : The 23 crew members of Bangladeshi flag carrier MV Abdullah, which was recently freed from the captivity of Somali pirates, has reached the Chittagong Port today (14 May). The Chittagong Port Authority has a reception at the New Mooring Container Terminal (NCT) to welcome back the sailors. Their family members are ... Read more