A three-day Bangladesh Jewellery Expo-2022 opened at International Convention City Bashundhara yesterday, organised by Bangladesh Jewellers Association (Bajus) to celebrate the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the country’s golden jubilee of independence.
Bajus hopes that the fair, the first of its kind in the country, would help develop the local gold jewellery industry by bringing in more buyers from home and abroad.
Echoing the same, Gulazar Ahmed, proprietor of Apan Jewellers, said the event was acting as a platform for introducing new products as well as scoping out the competition.
“We have relations with other traders but have no idea about the products they produce,” he said.
“Through this platform though, both traders and customers can find out about the products and designs currently available,” Ahmed added.
A total of 65 gold traders are displaying their products at the fair, which will remain open from 10:00am to 8:00pm every day. There is no entry fee.
The owner of Apan Jewellers went on to say that the government currently gets only Tk 500 crore as annual revenue from the gold industry, but there was scope to increase it to Tk 5,000 crore.
“To do that though, gold smuggling needs to be stopped,” Ahmed said while citing that any passenger can import 200 grammes of gold paying minimum duty.
“This encourages vested sectors to bring gold through syndicates,” he added.
In a bid to encourage legal imports, Bangladesh Bank has been issuing licences since 2019 and 19 companies have availed it.
The commerce ministry estimates that the annual domestic demand for gold jewellery is between 20 tonnes to 40 tonnes.
Of this amount, only 10 per cent is met through the resale of old ornaments.
However, traders believe the actual demand is around 25 tonnes to 30 tonnes per annum, and has been growing by 5 to 7 per cent over the years.
Pranab Saha, general secretary of Bajus’s Chattogram unit, said there were now more than 25,000 gold traders in Bangladesh.
“After a goldsmith earns enough capital within three to five years of working for another artisan, they start their own business and this is expanding the industry,” he added.
Dilip Kumar Agarwala, managing director of Diamond World, said there was a big future for gold trading in Bangladesh as people here count the precious metal as an asset.
“Purchasing gold is a kind of investment in our country as the price increased by at least 10 to 12 times in the last 20 years,” he said.
Photo: Courtesy of New Age