Gold, seized by different agencies, have piled up at the central bank's 'bullion vault', leading to a marked growth of government assets.
The lion's share of the seized gold has remained without any owner or claimant due to lack of necessary documents and evidences. As a result, the increased volume of unclaimed gold provided scope for extra earnings for the government, sources said.
The volume of seized gold stood at 386 kg 100 gm until December last. It is now kept in reserve in the central bank's 'bullion vault'. About 14 kgs were preserved as permanent gold stock during the same period, according to the Bangladesh Bank (BB) data.
The value of seized gold stood at about Tk 2.0 billion, according to local market prices.
Total reserve of gold at the BB now stands at 1,843 kgs valued at over Tk 8.21 billion.
"The gold price increases often in the local market. As a result, importers bring in gold illegally mainly for making quick profits," general secretary of Bangladesh Jewellery Samity (BJS) Dewan Aminul Islam Shahin told the FE on Monday.
Besides, gold is being smuggled into, on a large scale, because of some weaknesses in the existing policies, he added.
Cases involving illegal gold seizures at airports/ports and other routes have risen in the last couple of months.
The authorities impounded about 50 kg gold last year, data revealed.
The relevant authorities have issued instructions to all their field units to maintain increased vigil to curb gold smuggling.
The customs officials have been seizing most of the smuggled gold in the form of biscuits, gold plates and gold bars in different airports or ports of the country.
"Smuggled gold temporarily enters the local retail market. Then it is sold at high prices," traders told the FE.
Another reason for increased smuggling of gold is that its price in Bangladesh is higher than in other countries.