Earlier this month, Israel Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Binyamin Ben Eliezer announced that his ministry will act to support the Israeli Diamond Industry. With the global financial crisis still at large, unemployment is high, and the diamond industry is low on “Excellent” diamond polishers. The solution is simple: the ministry would help finance professional training programs for diamond polishers.
The Israeli Diamond Industry, which has been deeply affected by the crisis, is expected to see an increase of hundreds of millions of dollars in local production of polished diamonds, and the 100 people who undergo the training will be hired by local manufacturers.
The Israeli Diamond Industry is doing everything in its power to pull through the crisis, as evident from our Together Works program. Other governments around the world are also trying their best to help their diamond industries.
The government of Russia, for example, has pledged to invest some $1 billion in diamonds produced by Russian diamond giant Alrosa. I can't imagine what Russia Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is planning on doing with $1 billion worth of diamonds, but it is nonetheless quite a noble gesture.
In India, the government has launched a new scheme to support the diamond and jewelry industry, which includes subsidized loans, support of safety measures and protection from occupational hazards, and the establishment of an institute for the development of gemstones and jewelry.
Meanwhile, Ontario launched diamond drilling training programs in two colleges in Northern Ontario. This is just one expression of Canada's Economic Action Plan, which includes a C$12 billion investment in infrastructures, some of which directed at the diamond mining industry.
Sierra Leone, which relies heavily on the export of diamonds, recently decided to lower the commissions for the export of diamonds and gold, in an attempt to encourage more mining companies to operate in its territory.
And finally, last month the Thailand government canceled the 7% value-added tax on the import of raw materials for the Thailand jewelry industry. This tax exemption will be valid until December 2011, by which time, hopefully, the global financial crisis will be over.
It's difficult to say that things are looking bright, but they are definitely looking brighter. The governments of the world continue to provide well needed and deserved support to the diamond industry, and hopefully, we will all soon pull through it together.
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