Tap gemstone potential

A three-day, 18th All Pakistan Gems and Mineral show under the aegis of All Pakistan Commercial Exporters Association and Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) kicked off in the Federal Capital on Saturday in order to showcase the hidden potential existing in the local gems and stones besides highlighting issues and challenges being faced by the sector. Pakistan indeed is blessed with immense natural resources of all sorts and a little attention on part of relevant quarters can help exploit and utilise these resources for benefit of the country, which is currently faced with immense economic crisis.
Pakistan is annually exporting gems and stones worth $3.7 billion and certainly by extending more incentives and facilities to local exports and also by organising regular shows and exhibitions with regular intervals at local and international level can largely contribute to attract foreign and domestic investment in this sector. The country is not only blessed with large reserves of mineral ores but also known for the world’s most-glittering gemstones. The wide-range of gemstones including sapphires from Kashmir, emeralds from Swat, rubies from the Northern Areas and pink topaz from Katlang, Mardan and good quality stones found in the mountainous belt from South Waziristan to Chitral, makes the country significant in the mineral world. Now it is matter of choice for the policymakers to prove their mettle and utilise all their abilities to use gem sector to play a leading role in the national economy.
UAE, the US and various European countries could be the possible markets for the local stones but these should only be exported as value-added goods. The rich and technologically advanced countries import raw commodities from the underdeveloped countries and then export them back as value added goods, earning billions 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 problem of unemployment, but will also significantly bolster our exports in this sector.

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