The All Pakistan Gem Merchants and Jewellery Association’s decision to introduce the world of the local natural treasures by setting up a gem bazaar is the first ever effort of the kind in Karachi. The move is probably too much delayed on the part of the gem producers, exporters, retailers and merchants. However, it is better to do late than never. Reports suggest dozens of exhibitors have showcased their products in the bazaar, which included precious and semi-precious gemstones, rough gemstones, pearls, gemstone beads, silver jewellery and designers of jewellery. According to a senior official of the association, the bazaar will be set up twice in a month in Karachi and after its success, it will be organised in other cities of the country, including Lahore and Peshawar. A point to ponder is a specific customs law SRO 760, which the gem traders deem is an obstacle in the export of precious stones from the country. It should also be a point to ponder why raw gems should be allowed to export in the first place. The gem traders of South Korea and Singapore used to import precious stones not in numbers, but in tones only to export them back to Pakistan in the shape of value added goods.
Pakistan has a huge export potential as UAE, the United States and various European countries could be the possible markets for the local stones, but it should only be exported as value added goods. According to a senior official of a gemstone company, Pakistan’s gem sector has the potential to increase its exports up to $5 billion a year. Now it is the matter of choice for the policymakers to prove their mettle and utilize all their abilities to use gem sector to play a leading role in the national economy. Only a single department or a single personality cannot do anything. It requires concerted efforts to put the economy on the road of development. A national action plan for the development of economy is the need of the hour. The rich and technologically advanced countries import raw commodities from the underdeveloped countries and then export them back as value added goods, earning billions of rupees in the business. Instead of exporting raw material, at least the leading international manufacturers should be allowed to set up their units in gemstones rich areas. It will not only resolve the problem of unemployment, but will also earn precious foreign exchange.