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42 jewellers, banks seek gold import licences

Bangladesh Bank has received 42 applications from different entities including banks and jewellers to be enlisted as authorised gold dealers. The authorised gold dealers will be entitled to import gold bars directly from international markets, especially from Dubai of the United Arab Emirates.

The registration of gold dealers would help end the country’s gold businesses’ dependency on smuggled gold as the country never imported gold since its independence, said BB officials.

Besides, the import of gold would create scope for exporting the gold jewelleries from the country after value addition, they said. Of the applications, only two are from scheduled banks including Modhumoti Bank and the rest are from different jewellery houses and firms.

Bangladesh Jewellers Samity president Ganga Charan Malakar’s Venus Jewellers, its general secretary Dilip Kumar Agarwala’s Diamond World, vice-president MA Hannan Azad’s Alankar Niketan, executive members Quazi Sirajul Islam’s Amin Jewellers and Dilip Roy’s Grameen Jewellers are also among the applicants. On March 19, 2019, the BB invited applications from banks, individual-owned companies, joint ventures and limited companies for gold dealership licences under the BB’s new guidelines on gold dealership licence. The BB had set September 30 this year for filing application with the central bank to secure the dealership. Although the deadline ended on Monday, the central bank is accepting the applications against which Tk 5 lakh bank drafts were issued within the deadline. Taking the fact into consideration, the number of applicants might increase in the next couple of days, BB officials said. The BB would now scrutinise the applications in light of the gold dealership licencing guidelines and issue registration to the competent entities.

Later, the entities would be entitled to open letters of credit for import of gold from authorised dealers and producers abroad upon prior approval from the central bank. In the case of import of gold for export purposes, back-to-back import facility would be offered under the section 12 of the chapter 6 of the foreign exchange transactions, 2018 guidelines.

Besides, bullion vault along with adequate safety measures has been made mandatory for the safekeeping of gold to be imported by the dealers. Under the policy, dealers would be able to import gold without paying any tax except value-added taxes.

The National Board of Revenue would issue separate orders, easing the taxation rules related to gold import and export. Currently, a passenger can bring 100 grams of gold to the country without paying duty and 234 grams with paying duty under the baggage rules of the NBR. As per the estimation of the jewellers, the country’s present demand for the precious metal is around 42 tonnes or 42,000 kilograms a year.

The gold dealership licences will remain valid for two years and will be renewed upon payment of Tk 2 lakh in fee along with complying with other conditions, the guidelines said. In October, 2018, the cabinet approved a gold policy based on a proposal from the industries ministry with a view to legalising import of gold.

Courtesy - Media New Age Limited

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