Illegal money laundering can be reduced to a large extent if the government can stop the smuggling of gold bars into the country from abroad, said leaders of Bangladesh Jewellers' Association (Bajus).
Strong measures in tackling gold bar smuggling will also help to resolve the dollar crisis, they said after a meeting with the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) on Thursday.
Dilip Kumar Agarwal, general secretary of Bajus, said, "We are seeking the cooperation of the BFIU to stop gold smuggling. They have assured us of all possible cooperation."
"The Bangladesh Bank and Bajus will work together in this regard. Our first task will be to raise awareness among the people. Besides, we will exchange all kinds of information with BFIU. It will make our work easier," he added.
Claiming that none of the 40,000 members of Bajus are involved in gold smuggling, he said, "If any of us is involved in gold smuggling, strict action will be taken against him."
Masud Biswas, chief of the BFIU, said, "The government has a strong position in dealing with international problems like money laundering and terrorist financing. BFIU will continue to support Bangladesh as a central agency to combat these crimes."
According to Bajus, illegal gold worth at least Tk200 crore is smuggled to Bangladesh every day by water, land, and air routes.
At the meeting, the Bajus leaders presented seven recommendations to stop gold smuggling in the country including creating a joint monitoring cell of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) and Bajus, formulating strict laws, and law enforcement agencies conducting regular drives.
They also recommended gifting 25% of the recovered gold to members of law enforcement agencies to encourage them in such drives.