The gem and jewellery industry this week welcomed the implementation of the new regulations for the sector by the Government through the Gazette issued on 30 December 2021.
“These relief measures are a much-needed factor in uplifting the industry post-pandemic and will ensure the industry is swiftly on its way to meet its $ 1 billion target on exports,” the Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) said in a statement.
Gems, diamonds and jewellery exports have grown by 64% to $ 229 million in the first 10 months of 2021 from the corresponding period of the previous year. In October, exports jumped 105% year-on-year to $ 33.4 million.
The welcome move follows consistent and persuasive lobbying, carried out by the SLGJA with the support of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Finance Ministry, National Gem and Jewellery Authority, Export Development Board, Customs, and other Government officials.
The SLGJA said the Government has included several of their proposals in the Gazette notification of 30 December 2021.
With the support of the NGJA, Export Development Board, Finance Ministry, Sri Lanka Customs and other government officials, SLGJA has been successful in reducing the NGJA service fee for exports, which is a vast saving for exporters during these trying times.
Additionally, for shipments below $ 3,000, the export procedure has been simplified further to ensure an easier process of exporting gem and jewellery.
The reduction in the export service fee and change in procedure is a great boost to the industry, as it opens up the market to smaller dealers and SMEs who are now able to export gems without having to go through a physical examination at the NGJA.
Relaxed regulations and incentives provide the industry with greater hope in reaching the $ 1 billion target on exports set by the State.
SLGJA said it is committed and will continue its efforts to bring awareness to the numerous issues the industry faces and has finally reaped benefits.
Post COVID-19 the gem and jewellery like many industries faced significant challenges, with the retail sector suffering due to the lack of tourism, exports affected by the limitation of foreign buyers and a drastic decrease in gems available in the market due to the sporadic mining and lapidary production.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, unlike other industries, the gem and jewellery industry did not benefit from any form of relief. One of the key challenges was faced by exporters who were required to pay 0.5% on every export.
With this in mind, SLGJA has been focused on identifying key measures that aim to restore the export industry and the favourable latest Gazette was one of the key outcomes.