The government has initiated the process of formulating a policy on gold import to prevent smuggling of the precious metal and facilitate export of gold ornaments.
The proposed policy would mainly simplify the process of import of the item as gold smuggling has become rampant over the years in absence of any policy on gold trade including import and export, officials said.
They said that the government might allow import of gold through commercial banks under bonded warehouse facility to facilitate formal import of gold and prevent smuggling.
The issue has already been discussed at a recent inter-ministerial meeting held at the commerce ministry following a recommendation of customs authority of the National Board of Revenue.
The commerce ministry has also formed a seven-member committee to make recommendations on the planned policy on gold import following a request of the revenue board for expediting the process of formulating the policy.
In a letter to commerce secretary, NBR chairman Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said that finance minister AMA Muhith promised at his budget speech for the current fiscal year 2017-2018 that the policy would be finalised within this year.
The planned policy would include the process of import, tariff rate, export incentives and other relevant issues, said a high official of the ministry.
He said that the committee, headed by additional secretary Pranesh Ranjan Shutradhar, and consisting of representatives of the customs, trade bodies, Bangladesh Jewellery Association and Bangladesh Bank, would soon place their recommendations to the ministry.
The policy would help to bring transparency on import, check gold smuggling, increase supply of the precious metal and export gold jewelleries, he said, adding that formal import of gold would also help to increase tax revenue collection from the sector.
As per the customs proposal, banks would import gold duty-free under bonded warehouse facility and collect the taxes when it would sell the metal to the importers.
NBR will have the information of importers, stock of gold and its selling process.
In the letter to the commerce secretary, NBR chairman said that the customs intelligence, Bangladesh Jewellers Samity, and Transparency International Bangladesh sent their respective recommendations and draft gold policy to the NBR.
The new policy may include some of their recommendations including relaxation of the Bangladesh Bank’s regulations,
simplified procurement and monitoring, quality and purity of gold, the letter said.
Bangladesh has no source of gold other than recycled and imported ones under baggage rules, it added.
Although gold can be imported under the existing law with the permission of BB, importers find the system complex, said the letter.
In recent times, no gold bar or bullions were imported commercially, not even local jewellers have shown any interest to obtain BB’s permission for importing gold, the letter said.
Over the past nine years, the NBR seized about 4,130.425 kilogramme of illegally imported gold, it said.
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