Sri Lanka is targeting to double gem and jewellery exports to US$ 500 million next year as the industry remains buoyant on its potential to become largest forex earner for the country.
Addressing the China Fort Gem and Jewellery Association’s (CGJTA) inaugural Congress held in Beruwala this month, National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) Chairman Viraj de Silva announced that the government plans to double gem exports worth US$ 500 million in 2023.
According to him, gem, diamond and jewellery exports have amounted to US$ 390 million so far this year—US$180 million from gem exports and US$ 160 million from diamond (value-added) exports. De Silva noted that NGJA is taking measures to relax unwanted bureaucratic redtape, which cause unwarranted delays while standing as an obstacle for the development of the sector. Sharing industry views, CGJTA Vice Chairman Rizwan Nayeem touched upon on the gem and jewellery industry’s potential to become the largest net contributor to the country’s forex earnings. With the global gem and jewellery sector valued at US$ 200 billion per annum where Hong Kong and Thailand account for US$ 27 billion and US$ 13 billion, he pointed out that Sri Lanka remains far behind with a minute export figure. “We must get a message from these numbers; compared to Hong Kong and Thailand, we are nowhere,” he lamented.
In order to replicate the success of Hong Kong and Thailand, Nayeem outlined that the industry must position Sri Lanka as a preferred supplier of choice globally for gem stones by ensuring efficient and free movement of goods while focusing on value additions and striving to become global scale player. Meanwhile, NGJA has agreed to consider CGJTA’s request to setup a separate export division for the Beruwala gem market provided the traders can guarantee a particular monthly export figure. Beruwala gem market is considered to be one of safest gem markets in the world.