POST TIME: 15 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 15 December, 2019 01:09:01 AM
No let-up in gold smuggling

No let-up in gold 

Customs officials seized 16 gold bars and 17 bangles weighing 4 kg and arrested two persons at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital on Thursday. Acting on a tip off, a preventive team of Dhaka Customs House conducted separate drives in the green channel of the airport and seized 16 gold bars and 17 bangles made by gold worth Tk 2 crore from two passengers, who came from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. It is disturbing to note that the gold being seized at the airport may only be the tip of the iceberg, with most of the contraband metal being smuggled in the country. It is estimated that efforts to arrest gold smugglers are only successful in recovering 10 to 20 per cent of the actual volume of gold that is smuggled into or through our country every year. Many believe that most of the gold is then smuggled to India through land routes. There is a burgeoning market for this precious metal in India.   

   It is a fact that the carriers are not the sole operators in the gold smuggling incidents. They are recruited by other powerful quarters in exchange for some money. The main reason for gold coming into Bangladesh through illegal means is because of the huge duty. The demand of gold is very high and the premiums are also high. It is an open secret that jewellers of Bangladesh depend greatly on smuggled gold. According to them importing gold through legal channels is too expensive and cumbersome.

    Gold smuggling syndicates have apparently formed a nexus with airline workers, airport and security officials. The security risks posed by smuggling syndicates operating in collusion with corrupt individuals at airports make it an urgent priority to root out their activities. The canker of corruption and criminality caused by gold smuggling must be reined in.  Zero tolerance should be shown to such criminality. For security reasons alone, aviation officials and cabin crew found involved in smuggling have to be brought before the law and punished.  

As gold is a legal product, the government should reform the legal framework to make it easier to import and export gold through legitimate channels.