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Budget 2002- Highlights

Budget 2002 (PowerPoint presentation)

Gem exports to USA tops Rs.96.80 million

Sri Lanka's participation at this year's G.L.D.A. Tuscon, Gem and Jewellery Show in Arizona considered to be the largest gem and mineral show in the world which was facilitated by the National Gem and Jewellery Authority for local gem and jewellery dealers has recorded a significant increase in sales this year to top Rs. 96.80 million. This is an increase of 34% from the recorded figure of Rs. 72.18 million in 2001.

The show which was held from February 6 to 12 in Tuscon, Arizona has reconfirmed the potential market that exists in the USA for Sri Lanka's gems and jewellery, Chairman of the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA),Prof. P.G.R.Dharmaratne told the Daily News.

The total gem exports to the USA, the country's main buyer of gems since 1998 has recorded a noteworthy increase from Rs.873.59 million in 1999 to Rs. 1631.42 million in 2000.The Authority is in the process of compiling the latest figures for the year 2001, which are yet to be broken down, the Chairman said.

The United States has over 30% of the total exports of gems and jewellery from the country with Japan and Hong Kong having a market share of 13% and 14% respectively.

The Ministry of Industrial Development has advised the setting up of a Task Force with a five year-plan to revive the gem and jewellery sector through the active participation of the private sector together with the Export Development Board and the NGJA.

The Task Force has ventured into finding out the major constraints faced by the sector and discovering the present status of the gem and jewellery industry in the country will be the major focus in this endeavour.

The Task Force chaired by Shanaka Ellawala, President of the Sri Lanka Jewellery Manufacturers Association comprises nominees from other gem and jewellery associations and the NGJA.

The committee is expected to submit its report outlining the areas that need the immediate attention of the Government in the next two weeks to the Minister of Industries Prof.G.L.Peiris.

The five year plan has also proposed the setting up of 50 gem cutting lapidaries and 25 jewellery manufacturing factories in the country with the request from the industry that these be set up in the Free Trade Zones to reduce cumbersome procedures and provide quick access to infrastructure services and related problems.

This is proposed akin to similar Industrial Estate and Free Trade Area 'Gemopolis' in Bangkok, Thailand which is famous for tax free diamonds, gems and jewellery. The 'Gemopolis' is a fully integrated one-stop service which is a jewellery manufacturing and exporting centre developed and operated by a group of leading gem and jewellery enterprise in Thailand.

This project occupies a land area of 300 acres receiving support through their Board of Investment, the Industrial Estate Authority and the Customs Department and is virtually a tax free manufacturing and exporting industrial estate and developed to accommodate the gems and jewellery operators.

The five-year plan also proposes the setting up of a modern lab for gem testing which is expected to add value and also service the region in issuing certificates.

A modern lab is required for the testing of gems and have them certified in order that they be accepted in the global markets as authentic.

Source: Daily News 21/03/02

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