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Gov't ready to support jewellery sector: Salman F Rahman

10 February, 2024
Source: The Business Standard

Salman F Rahman further recommended that trade bodies should establish connections with the Ministry of Commerce, the National Board of Revenue, and the Bangladesh Bank to facilitate policy support.


Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the prime minister, said jewellers have to classify demands for gold markets for local and export destinations to get easy access to finance and policy support for the emerging sector.


"The government is ready to support the jewellery sector, which has immense growth potential," he said at a seminar on the challenges and opportunities in financing the jewellery industry organised by the Bangladesh Jewellers' Association (Bajus).


Addressing the seminar on the second day of the three-day mega exposition at the International Convention City Bashundhara, Salman F Rahman directed the jewellers to focus on the domestic market first and then expand to export destinations.


"I think that exporting gold will take time. Our initial focus should be on upskilling local resources, investing in research and development, and strengthening the domestic market. Once we have established a solid foundation, we can then expand internationally," he said.


Salman F Rahman further recommended that trade bodies should establish connections with the Ministry of Commerce, the National Board of Revenue, and the Bangladesh Bank to facilitate policy support.


Sayem Sobhan Anvir, president of Bajus, chaired the discussion and said the association has received valuable guidance from Salman F Rahman over the years to foster the jewellery sector as an industry.


Former Bangladesh Bank chief economist Dr Birupaksha Paul delivered the keynote presentation virtually during the session. He highlighted that the gold and jewellery sector has been striving for policy recognition for over five decades.


"Without officially recognising the gold and jewellery sector as an industry, obtaining loans becomes exceedingly challenging. It has taken fifty years to develop state-level policies regarding gold in the country," he said.


Connected to the seminar via video link, SAARC Chamber President Jashim Uddin suggested that jewellers collaborate with the FBCCI to accelerate research and development, thereby propelling the sector to the next level of growth.


"We have established a research and innovation centre at the FBCCI. Bajus also discusses the establishment of an institute to upskill artisans and explore research avenues. We can collaborate to collectively contribute to the gold industry," he said.


Chattogram Stock Exchange Chairman Asif Ibrahim announced that the second-largest bourse in the country is poised to launch a commodity exchange for gold in October this year.


Global Islami Bank Chairman Nizam Chowdhury proposed creating an inventory of gold from legal and informal sources to evaluate the sector as an industry.


"Around 80% of transactions are conducted informally. Jewellers need to create an inventory to provide insight into the sector. I believe no bank will deny financing if there is a gold inventory," he said.


In her speech, Professor Tabassum Zaman from Jagannath University mentioned that there is a lack of data flow in the jewellery sector, which may hinder growth.


"We often discuss challenges in financing the jewellery sector. However, the Bangladesh Bank has a special refinance scheme under the SME department. Jewellers can avail themselves of this facility from the specific SME cluster," she said.


Former Bajus Presidents Kazi Sirajul Islam and Dr Dilip Kumar Roy, Agrani Bank's former managing director Shams-ul Islam, Eastern Bank's managing director Ali Reza Iftekhar, seasoned banker Nurul Amin, FBCCI director Iqbal Hossain Chowdhury, and Bashundhara Group's director Ahmed Ibrahim Sobhan also spoke on the occasion.