The joint opposition said yesterday gold worth of USD 1,087 million had been imported in the recent past and that this was strange because the jewellery industry had not been developed in line with the colossal amount of gold imports.
JO MP Bandula Gunawardana said USD 650 million worth of gold had been imported in 2017, which was an increase of 73.7 per cent when compared with the previous year.
“During the first quarter of this year, a staggering USD 437 million had been spent on gold imports. This is an increase of 126 per cent when compared with last year. In total, USD 1,087 million worth of gold had been imported. If the government had saved this colossal sum, we could have almost settled the USD 1.4 billion loan obtained for the Hambantota Port. Although a large amount of gold has been imported, the industry has not been developed nor has Sri Lanka made any re-exports of gold. Several reports mention that gold is being smuggled in to India as well. President Maithripala Sirisena should pay attention to this and take immediate measures to prevent foreign exchange from being misused,” he said.(Lahiru Pothmulla)