MMTC Ltd, the country’s largest foreign trading company, plans to import Rs8,000 crore worth of gold in 2017-18 on the back of government action to restrict unofficial gold imports.
“We have clocked Rs5,000 crore gold imports till December of the current fiscal year. In the last two months, the government has taken some steps to control unofficial imports. This month, imports have improved. We will close this fiscal year with Rs7,000 crore of gold imports,” said Ved Prakash, chairman and managing director, MMTC Ltd.
“For 2017-18, we should target Rs8,000 crore gold imports,” he added. MMTC imported gold worth Rs6,500 crore in 2015-16.
The import duty on gold is 10 per cent. India is the world’s second-largest consumer of gold.
MMTC is also gearing up to conduct auctions of gold collected through the gold monetization scheme. “We have permission from the government,” Prakash said. MMTC has received 800 kg of gold deposited with the State Bank of India.
Similarly, sales of Indian Gold Coins, for which MMTC is the vendor, is slated to pick up pace. MMTC has already sold 70 per cent of 150,000 gold coins weighing 800 kg.Earlier, the coins were sold through MMTC offices, but it has now tied up with seven banks, including ICICI Bank, Punjab National Bank and Vijaya Bank, to sell coins through 400 sales outlets. The coins are of 5 and 10 g and their prices vary the price of bullion.
The Indian Gold Coin was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 5, 2015. It is India’s first sovereign gold offering and only gold coin hallmarked by the Bureau of Indian Standards.