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Government to set up Gold shop at departure/transit area at BIA

By: Staff Writer

May 02, Colombo (LNW): In a move set to enhance passenger experience and expand commercial offerings, the Government announced plans to set up a gold shop in the departure/transit area of Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) in Katunayake.

“At present, the departure/transit area of BIA does not feature a gold shop, leaving a gap in the range of retail options available to travellers.

Recognising this untapped potential, the Airports and Air Services (Sri Lanka) Ltd., aims to capitalise on the lucrative business opportunity presented by the absence of such facilities within the airport premises,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Minister Bandula Gunawardena said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing on Tuesday.

The decision to proceed with this venture was endorsed by the Cabinet of Ministers, following a proposal submitted by the Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva.

“The Cabinet approved to float tenders through the international competitive procurement method to select a suitable operator for the operation of the gold shop, in line with the principles of transparency and fair competition,” he added.

He noted that by inviting tenders from qualified operators, the aim is to ensure that the gold shop meets the highest standards of service excellence and product quality.

“The introduction of such a facility is expected to not only enhance the retail offerings at the airport but also provide passengers with a convenient avenue to purchase premium gold products during their transit or departure,” Gunawardena said.

Authorities in Sri Lanka have limited the import of gold jewellery to 22 carats per person in a bid to curb illegal gold smuggling operations.

A special permit is now required for any individual to enter Sri Lanka carrying gold jewellery weighing more than 22 carats.

Sri Lanka remains in the midst of economic chaos with inflation reaching a record of 70 per cent. Months of significant food shortages, as well as a lack of access to medicine, fuel, and electricity have plagued the country.

State minister of finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said that approximately 50 kilograms of gold is smuggled into Sri Lanka each day. The cost of these practices was estimated at $US360 million annually.

The report also revealed details of a police raid in early December 2023 which led to the recovery of 22 kilograms of gold, the second largest gold smuggling seizure in Sri Lankan history.

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