Oct 23, 2017

Licence scheme for 50 gold importers faces a stumbling block

The government is unlikely to implement the 2016 budget proposal to issue licences for 50 gold importers as it will allow these importers a monopoly in the trade.

The proposal in the 2016 budget provides for a limited number (50) licences to be issued to businessmen allowing tax-free import of gold. At present importers pay a tax of 10 per cent.

The Commercial Bank and Bank of Ceylon are the highest gold importers among banks at present but under the budget proposal, banks have been told to stick to their core business and are unlikely to be given licences.

Gold merchants protested that most jewellers fear these licences would be given to a handful of businessmen with links to powerful politicians in the government while a large number of small importers and domestic jewelers will have to face difficulties in purchasing gold.