India to be Lanka's main market for gem and jewellery sector
Meeting: Ministers Amunugama and Mano Wijerathne with Chairman
of NEDA, Sarath De Silva and senior officials of the Gem and
Jewellery Authority and BoI.
India could indeed in the future emerge as the main market for Sri
Lanka's gem and jewellery products. India's growing Middle Class with an
increasing spending power augured well for Sri Lanka's gems and
jewellery sector which now had an important market at its doorstep.
Minister of Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion, Dr
Sarath Amunugama, who chaired a meeting yesterday at his ministry
proposed to invite the top 10 leading Indian businessmen in the Gem and
Jewellery trade, to visit Sri Lanka and impart some of their knowledge
to local industry professionals, perhaps through a training programme.
During the discussion Dr. Amunugama pledged to support the
entrepreneurs in the jewellery sector, notably in the case of the
importation of specialized machinery from India, used in the manufacture
of bangles, through National Enterprise Development Authority.
One area suggested by the Minister was to build stronger ties with
the Indian gems and jewellery sector such as the setting up of joint
ventures. He said "Why do we always talk about European countries like
Germany, when India is doing a very good business today."
"We can build ties with our northern neighbours. This was
particularly relevant and impact favourably on a trade such as gems and
jewellery where the demand for the products was quite elastic."
"We need to be aware of how the gem and jewellery sector is
undergoing improvements rather than focus on developing huge
"We can use existing resources such as the land the BOI has on Galle
Road, which is ideal for constructing a new building that can house a
Gem Museum, gem and jewellery laboratory, show rooms, Gem Exchange
Centre and a training centre to promote the Gem and Jewellery sector"
Dr. Amunugama further added.
At the meeting the representatives of the association of Gem and
Jewellery Industry (AGJI) spoke of some of the challenges faced by the
Sri Lanka gems and jewellery sector.
These included problems connected to purchasing equipment relating to
the Industry, to the payment of taxes in purchasing main raw materials
such as pure gold, platinum alloy and gems, the need for more
recognition for Sri Lankan gem traders in Madagascar, the depreciation
of Sri Lankan Rupee and some taxes that need to be paid by member of the
Dr Amunugama, expressing support for the industry representatives,
said that the Government may be able to assist the industry by granting
some benefits, however matters of a commercial nature would have to be
addressed by the enterprises concerned.