The cabinet has approved a draft gold policy to stop smuggling by allowing import of the precious metal through authorised dealers. The absence of a policy meant there was no scope to legally feed the ever-increasing need for gold, which is, according to a study, 18 to 36 tonnes annually. Jewellery traders had been complaining that the central bank had not auctioned the gold seized during smuggling for ages, limiting the opportunity to buy gold legally.
And the demand was being met mostly through smuggling, leading the government to count billions in lost revenue.
According to a Transparency International Bangladesh report, the government suffers a revenue loss between Tk 4.87 billion and 9.74 billion annually due to the absence of a legal way to import gold.
The draft of the gold policy cleared by the cabinet on Wednesday says the Bangladesh Bank will approve dealers to import gold.
Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said banks, firms owned by individuals or public limited companies would be able to become gold dealers.
The central bank will make guidelines to select the dealers, Shafiul said, referring to the draft.
The dealers will import gold bars and sell those to jewellers. And the draft policy has a provision for the jewellers to export jewellery.
Air passengers will also be able to bring up to 234 grams gold in their luggage, according to the cabinet secretary.
The amount would rise in the final policy.
The draft proposes no duty for the air passengers to bring up to 100 grams gold, he added.