RAWALPINDI - Federal Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination Dr Fehmida Mirza has said that her ministry would be working proactively with all provinces through TEVTA in promotion of skill development of miners and workers from gems and jewelry sector.

While giving media briefing at Gems and Jewellery Expo being organized by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at a local hotel Saturday, she said that due to lack of value-addition the exports are struggling in this sector. She reiterated government’s effort in ease of doing business (EODB) and informed that Pakistan ranking on EODB Index has been improved as it currently stands at 136 out of 190 countries. Pakistan improved 10 points as previously it was at 146. Cutting, marketing, polishing and certification on modern lines is required to promote this neglected sector, she added.

Earlier, the three days exhibition (23, 24, 25 August) organised by RCCI in collaboration with TDAP was inaugurated by Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan Stefano Pontecorvo and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. Besides President RCCI Malik Shahid Saleem, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Pakistan, diplomats, the business community and people of twin cities were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the ceremony, Italian Ambassador Stefano Pontecorvo said he felt honour to inaugurate the 2nd RCCI Gems and Jewels Exhibition with the distinguished guests including Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan. He said the Italian gem and jewellery sector counted over 7700 companies with a work force of over 25,000. “The turnover of this business is almost 6 billion Euros. Italy is a natural partner of Pakistan,” he added. He also appreciated the role of RCCI and the president for holding such a beautiful exhibition.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan urged the business community to use their linkages and connections abroad to highlight the plight of Kashmiri people and expose the true face of India. Different forums including that of the parliament are being used to raise awareness about the tyranny and persecution unleashed by Indian occupying forces in Occupied Kashmir.

She said the government in cooperation with all the chambers of commerce and industries will also formulate a way forward to economically empower the Kashmiri women. She expressed the confidence that the business community will support the victims and civilians of Indian aggression on the line of control to strengthen their local industry. She said Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also decided to establish Kashmir Economic cell with the aim to economically empower the Kashmiri women.

Special Assistant lauded RCCI’s efforts in promoting trade activities in the region and assured full support of government for promoting of gems and jewelry sector. Government is focusing on empowerment of women entrepreneurs as we are facing human resource development challenge with our competitors in the region. The women while sitting at home can contribute in jewelry sector and government will fully support and provide assistant in this regard, she added. From exploration to cutting and polishing and transfer of technology and marketing, government is ready to support chambers initiative in this regard.

She also lauded trade development authority (TDAP) efforts for improving linkages and highlighted the neglected sectors.

Earlier, President RCCI Malik Shahid Saleem informed that Rawalpindi Chamber is organizing this event in collaboration with Trade Development Authority aimed to enhance this sector and exports of Pakistan. He added it is a perfect avenue for promoting this sector. Development of the sector will have a significant impact on Pakistan’s economy in terms of employment, entrepreneurship, and increasing the gems export outside Pakistan along with designer jewelry, he added.

Group leader Sohail Altaf in his address said that our industry has huge potential for value addition and profitability but due to lack of apprehension, this industry is far below our regional competitors, who are engaged in the mining, cutting/polishing and trading of gemstones. The exhibition will be continued till August 25.