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Jewellery industry can boost country’s economy, needs direction from PM: BAJUS President Anvir

Jewellery industry can boost country’s economy, needs direction from PM: BAJUS President Anvir

# Jewellery industry to create employment for 20m people

# It will help stop smuggling, earn billions of dollars from exports

# Banking sector has strong role to play for jewellery industry

 

Bangladesh can earn billions of dollars in foreign currencies if a vibrant jewellery industry can be established in the country with support from the government, Bangladesh Jeweller’s Association (BAJUS) President Sayem Sobhan Anvir said in an interview on Saturday.

Currently, there are 25,000 jewellery stores across the country, engaging some 4.4 million people.

“If the sector gets the right direction from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and support from the banking sector as well, the sector has the potential to create job opportunities for at least 20 million people in the next five years,” said BAJUS President Sayem Sobhan Anvir, also the Managing Director of Bashundhara Group.

“There is no alternative to setting up Jewellery industry in the country to check gold smuggling,” he noted while speaking to journalists.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been working relentlessly towards achieving the country’s self-sufficiency and maintaining its development journey,” Sayem Sobhan said, adding that Bangladesh’s development journey can be accelerated further by establishing a vibrant jewellery industry in the country.

“Once a “bottomless basket”, Bangladesh is advancing rapidly towards becoming a developed nation under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.”

 

“It is very important to get the right direction from our iconic Prime Minister and support from the banking sector to help the country’s neglected gold industry make a major turnaround,” Sayem Sobhan said.

In reply to a question regarding gold refinery, the BAJUS president said, “Now, time has come for exporting gold instead of only importing gold. For this we have to set up jewellery factories.”

“We’ve many workers who are working across the globe as jewellery workers. If such factories are set up in the country, they will work in the factories and it will be possible to earn foreign exchange by exporting the finished goods,” he added.

Turning to the issue of gold smuggling, he said it has not been possible to stop gold smuggling even after 50 years of the country’s independence.

He said gold smuggling is taking place every day despite the government and the law enforcing agency’s sincerity to stop it.

In reply to a question, Sayem Sobhan informed that 90 percent gold comes to Bangladesh through illegal channels, depriving the state coffer from huge revenues.

“On the contrary, the government will be able to earn huge forex from this industry once gold refinery is set up in the country. At the same time, goldsmiths, small businessmen and all the people will get its benefit,” he went on saying.

The BAJUS president also observed that businessmen of this sector are somewhat discouraged by the absence of right direction. Currently, businessmen engaged in this sector through legal means are in a tough condition.

“Not only that, we have to establish a jewellery industry to stop smuggling, check the dodging of crores of taka in tax and to create jobs for some 20 million people,” he said.

“Without banking sector’s support, it is a very tough task to set up a jewellery industry in the country. It is very important to get Prime Minister’s support in flourishing gold industry in the country,” he pointed out.

Once it is implemented, the government will get huge revenues, which will help in building a developed Bangladesh by 2041, the BAJUS president added.

To enter the era of gold production by refining raw materials is a truly ground-breaking achievement for Bangladesh.

When asked whether Bangladesh will be able to show 100 per cent self-reliant in export-oriented gold industry, Sayem Sobhan Anvir said, “Our neighbouring country India exports about 50 billion dollars worth of jewellery to different countries of the world every year. It makes a huge contribution to the economy of that country. That is also possible in Bangladesh. It is because, skilled workers like in Bangladesh is rare in different countries of the world.”

The BAJUS president said, “I have visited the jewellery industries in different countries of the world and talked to many skilled workers. Not getting good job environment in Bangladesh, many people are moving from the country to other countries and working there and making world class ornaments. Especially many Bangladeshi artisans of traditional religion are working in India and Dubai. If it is possible to make this industry in the country, then the good days of the native artisans will return. Besides, goldsmiths working in different countries of the world will be able to come and work in the country. Many skilled artisans in the gold industry are now unable to find work while many are leaving the profession of their predecessors and moving to other professions. Many are living inhumane lives with their families.”

The biggest scandal of the gold industry in Bangladesh is that at the wholesale level, there is no exchange of valid documents during the trade of gold. That means the whole process of trading is illegal. In response to another question whether the scandal of this industry will be eliminated through the refining and production of gold, Sayem Sobhan Anvir said, “Of course, we want to get out of such scandal. That is why, there is no alternative to the jewellery industry in the country. The Prime Minister is working relentlessly for the development of the country. With PM’s help, we will be able to revolutionise the jewellery industry. Then gold will no longer has to be smuggled into the country… we will be able to export billions of dollars of gold abroad by meeting the local demand.”

In the context of gold pricing, Sayem Sobhan Anvir, president of Bangladesh Jeweller’s Association (BAJUS), said that the price of gold should be fixed jointly by Bangladesh Jeweller’s Association and Bangladesh Bank.

Because, BAJUS is the main stakeholder of this industry and Bangladesh Bank is the regulatory body. Then both the customers and the traders will get the benefit.

Asked exactly when it will be possible to start gold refining activities, he said, it is possible to create a jewellery industry only if there is raw material. This industry will play a role in creating a better Bangladesh by 2041. In particular, the jewellery industry will play a major role in achieving the targets of the export sector.

BAJUS President Sayem Sobhan Anvir also stressed the need for setting up the Gold Bank. He said that till 1980, bank loans could be taken by mortgaging gold in the country. But now that rule is no more. It is important to start. A policy is needed to bring back this system, under which it is possible to make Gold Bank and Gold Exchange in the country through BAJUS. The daily price will be determined on the Gold Exchange. If this happens then the smuggling of gold and the rumours of smuggling will be stopped. For this, assistance of Bangladesh Bank, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Commerce is required. Above all, development of this sector is not possible without the assistance of the Prime Minister.

Referring to the cooperation in the banking sector, he said that the banks should come forward to help create a jewellery industry in the country.

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