New board to help entrepreneurship development
Kandy – A Board of Enterprise Development
would shortly be set up in order to develop all sectors of new enterprises
and entrepreneurship development, according to the Minister of Enterprise
Development and Investment Promotion Rohitha Bogollagama.
|Picture shows Minister Rohitha Bogollagama’s
wife looking at some jewellery.
He said he hoped to make the proposal at the next
Budget and already a Cabinet paper has been presented to give relief
to the gem trade by waiving off taxes with the reintroduction of
the payment of one percent for gems taken out the pits. This would
bring out more gems for sale and would be more transparent in their
The Minister made these comments at the opening
of the gem, jewellery and handicrafts exhibition. at the Queen’s
Hotel in Kandy recently. The exhibition was organized by the Sri
Lanka National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) and the Kandy-based
National Handicrafts Association
After the opening Bogallagama was showed the “Star
apphire of Sri Lanka”, the third largest star sapphire of
similar quality in existence. The minister was told that this priceless
Star Sapphire was especially brought for this exhibition due to
the Kandy Esala Perahera so that people could view it. The Minister
also said that this is a sensational discovery in the gem mining
history of Sri Lanka and is owned by the Sri Lanka National Gem
and Jewellery Authority. The "Star Sapphire of Lanka"
as it is named weighs 393carats and was heavily guarded by police.
The minister said that up to June 2006 export
of gems was worth Rs 26.7 billion and their target up to December
2006 is Rs 42 million. He also said that there is transparency in
the sale of land for gem mining and from 163 blocks of land the
Authority had been able to collect Rs 88 million.
The minister also emphasized that the 2.5 percent
of the Port Air Levy (PAL) on import of gems would be brought to
zero rate and the levy of 2.5 percent on import of gold would also
be brought to zero rate for which a Cabinet paper has already been
Discussing the high cost of brass and other raw
material, the Minister said that there is a great demand for raw
material from China and this has led to the high cost of raw material
which sometimes cannot be borne by the local enterprises.
He said that the alternative is to bring out better
quality products so that they could compete in the world market.
He said that he is taking steps in this direction to both ensure
the quality and also not forgetting to find ways and means of bringing
about the question of raw material as low as possible.
He also said that a future programme would be
to create a virtual shopping mall enabling local dealers to internationally
market their gems and jewellery though ‘NGJA” e-business.
Bogollagama said that it is proposed to establish
an International Gem Testing Labouratory under the provisions of
the National Gem and Jewellery Act.
He also said that he proposes to obtain worldwide acceptance for
the Sri Lanka Assay Office. Among those who spoke were the Chairman
of the National Handicrafts Board M. K. R.Tillekaratne and Deputy
Director General of the Authority Bandula Vithanage.