The government is likely to announce an amnesty in December to legalise undeclared gold possessed by businesses and individuals paying tax of Tk 1,000 bhari (equivalent to 11.5 gram).
The government would also fix duty on the import of gold at Tk 2,000 per bhari for registered businesses and Tk 3,000 per bhari for individuals under the baggage rules, officials said.
In addition to the import duty, a 5 per cent VAT would be imposed on gold imports, said the officials after a meeting presided over by finance minister AMA Muhith at the ministry on Wednesday.
Muhith told reporters that the tax rates on the import of gold by businesses and individuals in line with the new gold policy would be announced before the December 30 general election.
He, however, did not disclose the rates for technical reasons.
Bangladesh Jewellers’ Samity president Ganga Charan Malakar, who attended the meeting, said that their demands for fixing import duty at Tk 1500 per bhari and VAT at 3 per cent were rejected by the meeting.
He said that the government only met their demand for fixing Tk 1000 as tax for legalising undeclared gold.
The officials said that a fair would be arranged to implement the decision of offering amnesty to legalise undeclared gold.
They said that 80 per cent of the country’s annual demand for at least 27 tonnes of gold entered Bangladesh illegally depriving the government of huge revenue.
The rest of the demand for gold is met with the recycled gold and imports under the baggage rules, they said.
Custom intelligence data showed that about two tonnes of gold were seized by them between 2012 and 2017.
Most of the gold was seized from the capital’s international airport while it was considered that Bangladesh had been treated as a route of gold smugglers against the backdrop of a huge demand for the metal in neighbouring India.
The gold policy was approved by the cabinet on October 3.
Transparency International Bangladesh in a study on the country’s gold sector, released in November 2017, said that the daily transaction of gold ornaments in Bangladesh was Tk 25 crore and the transaction took place at over 20,000 shops across the country.
The report also said that there was an annual demand for 18-36 tonnes of gold in Bangladesh, the major share of which came through smuggling.
According to the report, the government has no effective control over the gold sector in the absence of a legal framework and prudent import policy.
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