Gold prices may go up as the finance minister has proposed a hike on its import duty from Tk 150 to Tk 3,000 for each tola (11.664 grams) carried in the baggage of air travellers.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith has suggested the measure in an attempt to curb rampant smuggling, referring to two large caches of smuggled gold confiscated this March and April.
He also proposed to halve the duty-free gold import ceiling from 200 grams to 100 grams.
“In the absence of a proper gold import policy, the baggage allowance is the precious metal's main source for the country's jewellery industry,” said Anwar Hossain, president of Bangladesh Jewellery Manufacturers and Exporters Association.
“The move to jack up taxes will only exacerbate the smuggling problem, seeing that it is already a matter of concern even with much lower taxes.”
Under the existing Passenger (non-tourists) Baggage Rule, a passenger can bring up to 200 grams (around 17 tolas) of gold ornaments duty-free.
Passengers can also bring a further 200 grams of gold bars on payment of a Tk 150 specific duty for each tola.
The minister proposed allowing passengers to bring 100 grams of gold ornaments free of taxes and an additional 200 grams on payment of Tk 3,000 specific duty for each tola.
Referring to two big attempts of gold smuggling in March and April at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, the minister proposed to increase the import duty of gold.