President discusses steps needed to develop the Gem & Jewellery industry

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –A meeting was held between President Maithripala Sirisena and the representatives of the Gem & Jewellery industry at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday (12).

During this meeting it was discussed in detail regarding the issues prevailed in the industry, which is playing a pivotal role in the national economy by bringing foreign revenue, and regarding the steps that should be taken to develop the industry.

Attention was drawn to issues like relieving the levy of 15% on gold imports, difficulties faced by the Gem & Jewellery industry due to the new taxes imposed by the government and to reduce the mining licence fee charged by the Lands Commission.

It was also discussed the necessity of using abandoned paddy fields which could not be used for cultivation, for mining activities and to implement a process to encourage the mining workers to refill and rehabilitate mine sites once mining is finished.

The President also discussed the issues that have arisen with mining process as well as in the procedure of issuance of Mine Permits, and the President instructed the officials to provide relief to miners considering the reality of the regional situation and to take legal actions to cancel the licenses of the miners who do not take steps to close the mine sites when mining is finished.

Attention also focused on the issues arising when carrying out raids on illegal mining and preparation of a proper mechanism to take legal action against fake gemstones suppliers.

Ministers Mangala Samaraweera, Gayantha Karunathilake, Daya Gamage, Deputy Minister Ajith Mannapperuma, Secretary to the President Mr Udaya R. Seneviratne, Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media R.H.S. Samarathunaga, Secretary to the Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment Anura Dissanayake, Chairman of National Gem and Jewellery Authority Peshala Jayaratne and a group of representatives from the Gem and Jewellery industry were also present on this occasion.

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