Sharing his views combined with previous industry experience, the Minister of Public Enterprises Development said that the gem and jewellery industry needs to be further liberalized to facilitate its growth.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the 27th Sri Lanka International Gem & Jewellery Show, Minister Kabir Hashim asserted that the industry has a major issue with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority which is the major regulatory body.
The National Gem and Jewellery Authority has to have a different identity as a regulatory authority because, “we need less control and less bureaucratic involvement to ensure further growth of the industry”
The minister said that our motherland is blessed to have contributed 75 precious stones out of the 200 stones that have been identified as the most valuable precious stones worldwide. However, “I am not happy with the progress of the industry so far, that has a long history of trading,” he lamented.
“If you take Hong Kong, even without producing a single piece of gem they have still managed to generate an annual income of USD 25 billion, while despite being a gem producing nation, our industry generates only USD 500 million per annum. This is the sad truth,” the minister remarked.
Sharing views on the future of the industry, Minister Hashim noted, “We need to change the attitudes towards this industry”. More liberalization, allowing stake holders to function freely and brand promotion would have more positive impacts on the industry, according to the minister.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe pointed out that even though the gem and jewellery industry gathered momentum in 1990, it was never sustained. That is why we have failed to achieve great progress. However, the Prime Minister noted that the government expects gem and jewellery exports to become one of the prominent sources of foreign exchange earnings in the coming years.