Sri Lanka’s gem industry targets $ 1 billion in earnings this year.
The Morning: Minister of Industries and Plantation Industries Ramesh Pathirana stated that the Government has already established that the gem industry will aim to achieve $ 1 billion in exports in 2023.
“We will facilitate the value-addition of our gems by enabling all technology and equipment related to value-addition to be duty-free. A committee will also be appointed to facilitate a pension plan for gem miners and other related occupations,” he said, inaugurating the international gem and jewellery show, FACETS Sri Lanka Premier Edition.
Organised by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA), FACETS Sri Lanka also signals that the island is ready and open for business.
In his welcome address, SLGJA Chairman Ajward Deen stated that the Government of Sri Lanka must recognise the industry as a key forex earner.
“The Government must be a facilitator towards the continuance of this industry, which most often is plagued by numerous and inefficient bureaucratic challenges that hinder its growth. The incentives that have been eliminated recently should be reconsidered. The public-private partnership, which is very much at the heart of this year’s exhibition, stands as testimony to a collaborative partnership that will benefit not just the industry, but the entire nation.”
FACETS Sri Lanka Chairman Altaf Iqbal emphasised two points about the exhibition; the fact that the exhibition signals to the world that Sri Lanka is ready and open for business, and it being the first to showcase a solid, working public-private partnership.
“This is probably one of the rare instances where we see the Government being the facilitator and the private sector being the driver, a paradigm that can be cascaded to other industries as well.”
He also appreciated the buyers who were in Sri Lanka, saying: “This industry has been built over centuries by discerning buyers who don’t compromise on quality. It is your return to this island that will enable our country to get back on track giving us much-needed foreign exchange.”
The SLGJA is the apex private sector organisation representing the interests of all industry sub-sectors from mining through manufacturing, wholesale, and retail. It organises FACETS Sri Lanka in partnership with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority and the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB).
Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery industry has become an emerging business/investment opportunity with renewed interest in regaining the prominence once enjoyed by Ceylon Gems in the international market. Gems of Ceylon have been synonymous with quality and high value with local gem stones also making their way into many royal houses in the world. The local gem and jewellery authorities together with the Export Development Board have looked at new ways of promoting gems from Sri Lanka in the international market while also exploring new foreign markets. It is in such a backdrop that there has been renewed interest in Sri Lanka’s gems and jewellery among foreign buyers. The many trade agreements and trade concessions enjoyed by the country will also stand to boost Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery industry. Given the increasing business potential in Sri Lanka’s gem and jewellery, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in the industry. Foreign businesses could also look at forming partnerships or joint ventures with local businesses engaged in the gem and jewellery business with the aim of developing and expanding operations.
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