By:Staff WriterColombo (LNW): Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery sector including companies and exporters have been directed to strictly adhere to anti –money laundering compliance requirements to effectively mitigate Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing (ML/TF) risks.
It would ensure compliance with the international recommendations, governance standards, and anti-corruption framework, the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank noted adding that these efforts would reinforce the AML/CFT framework of the country.
The Central Bank has extended an invitation to sector stakeholders, urging them to collaborate closely with the FIU and the National Gem and Jewellery Authority (NGJA) in this national endeavor.
This was highlighted at an awareness program for the gem and jewellery sector on “Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Compliance Obligations and New Developments” recently.
It was organized by Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka in collaboration with the National Gem and Jewellery Authority
The sector regulators are requesting the companies engaged in the gem and jewellery business to seriously consider the recommendations to improve the level of compliance.
It should conduct Customer Due Diligence (CDD) to identify, assess, monitor, manage sector clientele and take effective action to mitigate ML/TF risks using a risk-based approach that requires enhanced measures when the risks are higher,
Another recommendation was to Carry out CDD with respect to the customers for high value cash transactions above USD 15,000, identify beneficial ownership, and business relationship,and maintain records of transactions,
It has been directed to take additional measures to identify customers who are politically exposed
persons (PEPs) and adhere suitable monitoring, Implement policies, procedures, and internal controls against ML/TF risks, and carryout targeted financial sanctions and freeze assets or take action immediately against persons and entities designated by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCRs) 1267 and 1373, or other UNSCRs,
It has to communicate the same to competent authorities; and report suspicious transactions to the FIU, where relevant.
Sri Lanka is the ninth largest exporter of precious stones to the global market and one of the five most important gem bearing nations of the world.
It is also one of the world’s steadiest suppliers of top quality gemstones. However, Sri Lanka’s export contribution to economy is yet to match the other global stakeholders such as Thailand, which is an international trading hub for gem and jewellery and generates around US$ 12 billion in export revenue, Hong Kong, which notches US$ 30 billion.
As per the Central Bank Annual Report 2022, Sri Lanka earned US$ 450 million as export income from gems, diamonds, and jewellery during 2022 while the annual average for the past 5 years was US$ 298 million.