PESHAWAR - Exporters of gems stones have expressed deep concerns over the new rules of the Ministry of Commerce and urged the government to revise the decision by taking the stakeholders into confidence.

Addressing a news conference at the Peshawar Press Club on Thursday, the All Pakistan Commercial Exporters Association (APCEA) Chairman Rashid Qadeer Mir said that through the implementation of Statuary Regulatory Order SRO-760 (1), the gems stone exporters were bounded to register with the Trade and Development Authority of Pakistan by depositing Rs30,000 while Rs15,000 further would have to pay as registration fee for renewal after three-year under Statutory Regulatory Order/SRO-760 (1).

Flanked by the Rough and Polished Precious and Semi Precious Stone (APCEA) Gems Exporters Association, Vice Chairman Farhan Khan, Atif Rasheed, Manzoor Elahi and Mushtaq Ahmad, Mir said that export of gems stones was declined due to unfavourable environment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while the decision would further affect it.

He said that the officials of the Ministry of Commerce have told the exporters that gems export was mistakenly included in the Statutory Regulatory Order/SRO-760 (1). He explained that the decision was actually enforced on export of jewelry and gold.

Despite the fact, Mir said the decision was also implemented on gems stone export through a public notice by the ministry concerned and urged the exporters to renew their registration with the TDAP before January 23, otherwise they would not be allowed to export.

He expressed fear that the decision would trigger massive unemployment as more than 30,000 to 35,000 labourers were engaged in processing of finishing and polishing of precious gems stones across the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“We reject the new policy for gems stone,” Mir said and warned to take up steps against the unjustifiable decision of the government. He informed that around $121.48 million export of gems stone from 1996 to 2013 had been recorded with a larger contribution of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa due to presence of variety of precious and semi precious stones there. He viewed the decision was being implemented to tighten hold over export of gems stone by TDAP and the federal bureaucracy, which will never be happened like that, he warned. 

The association demanded the Ministry of Commerce to preclude export of gems stones from SRO-760 (1), as it was added mistakenly.