Jewellers demand more incentives for revival of gold industry

ISLAMABAD: Jewelers related to the gold industry have demanded of the government to provide them more incentives for exporting the traditional hand and machine made jewelry by exploring international markets for saving them from the drasting consequences of unusual surge in gold price during the previous months.
Sheikh Usman, a Jeweler in the local market of Rawalpindi, said jump in gold price up to Rs90,000 and then confining to Rs85,000 per tola during the last months has limited the purchasing capacity of the common man, negatively impacting the gold business.
The number of customers has reduced significantly after surging price of gold. Earlier, if a customer had capacity to buy five tola gold is restricting now up to two tola only.
Ultimately 80 percent of our business is finished and only 20 percent is left, he lamented.
He said the abrupt surge in gold price coupled with the prevailing price hike situation has also affected the earning of workforce in the gold market and many of them have left this work.
About any chances of reduction in gold price in the future, Sheikh Usman said, “We are seeing no significant downward trend in price of gold, however it will fluctuate between Rs. 80000 to Rs.90000.
Majority of the customers are more inclined toward artificial or imitation jewelry and 90 percent of the customers are depending on artificial jewelry, owing to the increase in gold price.
Gold was earlier considered as a perfect thing to buy and store for saving purposes but inflation, taxes and increase in gold rate has also finished this practice, he observed.
Another jeweler, Kashif Mahmood was of the view that thousands of people belonging to the gold industry were suffering due to shortage of customers.
Five to seven families including of salesman, manufacturer, designer, polisher and retailer etc. were involved in making of single tola gold jewelry and now they are short of work.
“Our whole customers belonging to the middle class are out of markets and turned to opt artificial jewelry. And now the government wants us to take General Sales Tax from the customers after doing which we will lose our remaining customers too,” he observed.
About gold exports, he said, the incumbent government must provide us proper incentives to boost our local traditional handmade jewelry industry and enable us to develop our own market for export purposes.
Stone jewelry made in Pakistan is highly demanded in the other countries especially India, United States, United Arab Emirates etc. Although the trend of handmade jewelry is replaced by machine-made but still old-fashioned jewelry will retain its space.
Shoukat Ali, a worker in the gold market said, “the workers like me were earning good amount when the gold price was at Rs55,000 per tola.
Such a huge increase in gold price has finished our work; only one or two customers are coming to us for altering or repairing the old jewelry, not for buying anything”.
“We are working for one or two hours in a whole day these days and the reason is acute shortage of customers,” he lamented. He said the government must take solid measures to revive the gold industry by promoting exports and reducing taxes.

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