President Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided to remove the 14% income tax imposed on the profit earned by the gem and jewelry manufacturers and the 15% tax on gold imports.
The income tax concession given to the gem and jewelry industry since 1971 was done away with under the income tax policy introduced in 2017.
This created a situation where the actual income earned from the export of gem and jewelry could not be disclosed.
In 2018, a 15% tax was imposed on gold imports and this resulted in jewelry prices going up.
The President pointed out the necessity of removing relevant taxes immediately and to take steps to uplift the gem and jewelry industry.
President Rajapaksa made these remarks during a meeting to discuss future activities of the State Ministry of Gem and Jewelry related Industries held at the Presidential Secretariat on Monday (07).
The 14 proposals put forward by State Minister Lohan Ratawatta to resolve the issues pertaining to Sri Lanka’s inability to become the global hub for gem were discussed in length.
Minister Ratwatte highlighted the importance of facilitating the importation of high-priced gems unique to other countries and are not found in Sri Lanka and maintaining a gem reserve.
President Rajapaksa said all relevant institutions should be brought into one place to avoid delays in the issuance of gem mining licenses.
He further instructed the state-owned banks to provide a loan of Rs. 01 million at a concessionary interest rate of 4%, to jewelry manufacturers and traditional Jewelers to purchase gold.
It was also decided to remove the barriers that had obstructed the release of uncultivated lands with gem deposits belonging to plantation companies and to take over control of these lands for the benefit of the mining industry.
President Rajapaksa instructed the officials to expedite the construction works of the proposed Gem Trading Complex and Training Centre at Demuwawatha, Ratnapura.
Unregulated and illicit gem mining is taking place in areas containing rich gem deposits of the Ratnapura District on large scale and President Rajapaksa urged officials to immediately halt the gem mining activities carried out in a harmful manner to the environment as well as to remove barriers to the traditional gem mining industry.