Bangladesh Jewellers Samity demands gold bank
*Commerce minister assures all-out support
*Gold has potential to surpass RMG in export earnings
*Jewellery sector to help achieve $80bn export target by 2024
Jewellery businessmen have proposed setting up a specialised gold bank in the country to flourish the industry through monetising physical gold lying with people.
Bashundhara Group Managing Director and Bangladesh Jewellers Samity (BAJUS) President Sayem Sobhan Anvir made the proposal on behalf of BAJUS while presiding over a function marking the opening of the new office of the trade body at Bashundhara City Shopping Complex in the capital on Tuesday.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi attended the function as the chief guest while Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan was a special guest.
If the bank is established, it will be the first of its kind in South Asia to monetise the gold items.
Currently, the USA, the UK, China and Indonesia have banks for trading of the yellow metal.
At the function, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi assured the gold businessmen of providing all-out support for establishing the gold bank to facilitate gold trade in Bangladesh.
He also expressed the hope that the bank along with a gold exchange will help contribute to achieving the USD$80 billion export target by 2024.
BAJUS General Secretary Dilip Kumar Agarwala gave the welcome address at the event.
A gold bank is a financial organisation which accepts the yellow metal as deposits and issues loans to help monetise physical gold lying with people.
“A proposal has been made for establishing a gold bank. That will be nice idea. We should move forward with an economic plan. Bangladeshi goldsmiths have earned fame across the world. We can strengthen our presence in the international market through exporting gold,” the commerce minister said.
He claimed that gold sector will be the major contributor to the export target as the value addition of the item is higher than any other product.
Tipu Munshi urged the businesses to utilise the potential of local goldsmiths who have been upholding the industry for centuries. “We have scope here. The trade body should come forward with concrete proposals for development of the sector. Then we may sit with the Prime Minister after the coronavirus situation improves,” he said.
Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan thanked the government for allowing establishment of local gold refinery for flourishing the sector which remained untapped for long.
“It’s a matter of pride for the nation as there’s a gold refinery in Bangladesh. The gold refinery is a significant chapter for us. Our Prime Minister is always promoting good initiatives. She never refuses anything that is good businessmen,” he said.
The Bashundhara Group Chairman also supported the proposal of the BAJUS President to establish a gold bank and a gold exchange in the country to bring transparency in the cross-border business, especially in export segment.
He expressed the hope that the gold industry will surpass the garment sector in terms of export earnings in near future with its increased value addition. “We can earn huge foreign currencies through exporting gold to China and Europe,” he said.
Ahmed Akbar Sobhan proposed making a prudent policy for supporting diamond business alongside the gold industry.
He said Bangladesh has maintained a smooth and sustainable journey even amid the coronavirus pandemic under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “Let’s pray for the Prime Minister. Bangladesh will go such a distance, which we can’t imagine right now,” he said.
Sayem Sobhan Anvir, also Managing Director of Bashundhara Gold Refinery Limited, proposed setting up a gold bank and a gold exchange in the country under the supervision of BAJUS. “Until 1980, there was a trend of lending money after taking gold items as collateral. The trend has now become informal. We need a policy to revive this. For this, I urge the honourable Prime Minister to set up a gold bank and an exchange through BAJUS,” he said.
The young business leader claimed that there is a misconception about the gold business in the country which should be addressed through a prudent policy for the exchange deal. “There should be gold bank and an exchange. We need support from finance ministry and Bangladesh Bank. And the sector will flourish when the Prime Minister will extend support finally,” he said.
The BAJUS President urged the businesses to come forward to set up gold refineries instead of being confined to trading only. “We should go for export from the import-dependent market. There’re many Bangladeshis working abroad. They want to return home to contribute to the country. We should employ them inside the country through setting up more industries.”
The Bashundhara Group Managing Director urged all to support the development journey of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. “Let’s strengthen the hands of the Prime Minister through contributing to the economy,” he said.