Directive to regulate bullion industry by Dec

Kathmandu, November 3

The government is mulling over introducing a directive to regulate the country’s bullion industry and jewellery business by the end of December this year.

The draft of the directive on jewellery trading and market monitoring is awaiting final feedback from stakeholders of the bullion industry before it can be sent to the Cabinet for approval, according to Gokul Dhital, director general of the Department of Supply Management and Consumer Protection.

Though bullion traders and government had agreed to introduce such directive by the end of 2014 to regulate the domestic jewellery market, endorsement of the directive was constantly delayed after both the government and jewellers could not reach a common understanding on the purity level of gold ornaments.

The need for a separate directive was felt after traders were found selling low quality gold and silver jewellery in the market. Moreover, government inspection team had found many jewellers were not even meeting the purity level of gold as per the government set standard. As per current government standard, any 24-karat gold jewellery should be 99.5 per cent pure. However, the purity level of some samples of gold jewellery collected from the market in 2014 was found to be below 90 per cent.

Similarly, 16 karat gold jewellery, 18 karat gold jewellery and 22 karat gold jewellery should contain at least 66.6 per cent gold, 75 per cent gold and 91.6 per cent gold, respectively, as per the government standard.

“The draft of the directive had been shelved at the Ministry of Supply (MoS) since long though stakeholders had almost reached an agreement regarding purity of gold jewellery and other provisions,” Dhital told The Himalayan Times, adding that the department will hold a final discussion with stakeholders on the draft of the directive and send it to the Cabinet for endorsement.

The draft of the directive has allowed jewellers to cut jarti (making charge) in gold jewellery of up to nine per cent depending on the design. In a bid to control the use of large amount of binding materials while preparing gold ornaments, the draft of the directive has fixed tolerance level of up to one per cent in any gold jewellery. This means that jewellers can mix up to one per cent chemicals in gold ornaments.

However, the directive bars jewellers from using any metal other than that prescribed in the directive in gold jewellery. As per the draft of the directive, jewellers will get one year period to implement the provisions enlisted in the directive.

Meanwhile, jewellers have urged the government to introduce the directive as soon as possible.

“The directive would play crucial role in the growth of domestic bullion industry as it has fixed standards of gold jewellery,” said Mani Ratna Shakya, president of Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers’ Association, adding that implementation of the directive would contribute in promoting domestic gold and silver ornaments.

However, Shakya urged the government to hold enough discussions on provisions of the directive before it is sent to the Cabinet for approval.