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Jewellery sector in trouble due to disappearing artisans, goldsmiths
With the slump in demand for gold ornaments and fall in their wages and job opportunities, many goldsmiths and artisans are opting either to leave their traditional profession or migrate to India, putting the country’s jewellery sector into jeopardy.
Jewellery traders and goldsmiths said the number of gold users is falling gradually due to the rise in gold price and easy availability of cheaper gold-plated imitation ornaments and stone-made ones.
Besides, they said, the jewellery sector has been losing its customers as the price of gold is much higher in Bangladesh compared to international market as well as neighbouring India for lack of any national gold policy here.
They said many jewellery shops at Tanti Bazar in the capital and different parts of the country have been closed over the last several years as the orders for gold ornaments have almost halved during the period, forcing many goldsmiths and artisans to switch to different other professions for livelihood.
According to Bangladesh Jewellery Samity, around 15,000 Sharna Shilpy (goldsmiths and artisans) were there only in Dhaka city 7-8 years ago, but the figure has now come down to only 4000-5000.
Besides, nearly 3.5 lakh people used to work as goldsmiths and artisans across the country 10 years back, but nearly one third of them quit the profession over the period.
The Samity leaders also said around 10,000 traders are currently involved in jewellery sector across the country.
Talking to UNB, vice president of Bangladesh Jewellery Samity Enamul Hoque Dolan said a large number of skilled goldsmiths, who had been involved in the sector from generation to generation, have already changed their profession while many of them left the country looking for better jobs.
On one hand the gold users have been decreasing and many people now prefer to buy imported readymade ornaments on the other, Dolan said. “We’ve information that many people are bringing gold ornaments from India through different illegal channels as the prices are lower there than in Bangladesh.”
The Jewellery Samity leader thinks a well-thought-out national gold import and export policy is a must to protect the country’s jewellery sector and ensure welfare of the goldsmiths.