In order to import unrefined gold, the importing company must have its own refinery.
The company has to be approved by the commerce ministry and meet other conditions the ministry. It must be a member of any legitimate trade organisation registered with the ministry. Only then any institution will be considered eligible to apply to open an LC for the import of unrefined or partially unrefined gold.
The central bank's foreign exchange policy department issued a circular on Thursday with these instructions.
According to the circular, a copy of the license issued by the commerce ministry, updated trade license, TIN certificate, VAT registration, BIN certificate and a copy of the membership of the business association have to be submitted along with the application form.
Moreover, income tax documents and land deed where the gold refinery is located will be required also.
Eleven such documents have to be submitted with the application and only after verification and selection by the bank can any institution open an LC for importing unrefined or partially unrefined gold from abroad.
According to the revised gold policy attached to the central bank's circular, entrepreneurs have expressed interest in importing unrefined or partially refined gold and refining it at their own refinery plant (refinery) to produce and market different grades of gold bars and gold coins.
Although gold and gold bars were mentioned, the gold policy did not mention the issue of importing unrefined gold. The matter was included in the gazette of the revised gold policy published on 3 June.
The policy states that no gold refinery has been set up in Bangladesh yet. This will open a new horizon in industrialisation. Bangladesh will also be listed as one of the world's gold refiners.
Bangladesh has an annual demand of 20 to 40 metric tonnes of gold. Of this, 10% gold is legally imported from abroad through baggage rules, or the demand is met by collecting old gold. The policy states that the demand for the rest of the gold is met illegally.
In the 2014-15 financial year, Bangladesh earned only $672 from the gold sector. Although various initiatives have been taken from 1980s to the present, exports have not increased at a significant rate.
The commerce ministry hopes that exports will increase if entrepreneurs set up gold refineries in the country with the help of the revised policy.