The All Pakistan Gem Merchants and Jewellers Association (APGMJA) has urged the government to lift Economic Co-ordination Committee's ban of 30 days on the import of gold in a bid to ease pressure on Pakistani rupee against the US dollar. In a statement on Tuesday, Chairman APGMJA Habibur Rahman alleged that the government continued putting up hurdles in export of handmade pieces of jewellery and value-added goods.
"Its claims of promotion of exports and strengthening of economy have proved to be empty slogans, he added. He said the government has slapped ban on the commercial import of gold on the presumption that 4,000 kilogram of gold was imported, 1,000kg of hand made jewellery was exported whereas 3,000 kilogram of gold remained unaccounted for, therefore dollar is being drained out from the country on account of gold import.
He recalled that the government had imposed ban on the import of gold under SRO 760 on 28th July, 2013 to stop dollar drain out and strengthen dwindling exchange rate but that policy also failed and the Pak Rupee continued to slide. He pointed out that the gold and gem industry imported raw gold for the purpose of export of hand made jewellery to Gulf states, UK and the United States. However, due to unilateral policy of the government the export of gem and jewellery has decreased by 95 percent.
Rehman categorically stated that the exporters of jewellery have nothing to do with the import of 4,000kg of gold. The gold industry importers imported only 76kg gold under the SRO 760 out of which 50kg of jewellery has so far been exported whereas jewellery of the remaining 26kg is under process of making.
He said under SRO 760, the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) gives permission to import gold. It is a matter of great concern for APGMJA that 4,000kg of gold was imported whereas only 1,000kg gold was used for handmade jewellery. He demanded of the government to investigate who gave permission to whom for import of such a large quantities of gold. He said due to bad policies of the government, the export of jewellery has come down to $2.5 million from September to January as compared to $30 million of corresponding period of last year.
He said Pakistan has lost its markets and customers to India, due to cheap labour and withdrawal of EU GST facility for India, Pakistan's exports of jewellery was rising. However, due to ban on import of gold, export of jewellery has been hit hard. He called upon the government to lift the ban on import of gold otherwise APGMJA will consider countrywide agitation and closure of the business.
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