Special zone for emerging jewelry industry is very essential

Dilip Agarwala tells Bangladesh Post

Published : 12 Dec 2021 08:59 PM | Updated : 16 Dec 2021 11:29 PM

""It is necessary to establish a special zone for the country's highly potential and emerging jewellery industry and to develop it with the assurance of providing highest level of security as also to ensure easy bank loans for the jewellery sector investors for reaching the expected goal from this sector", said  Dilip Kumar Agarwala, CIP, NDC, General Secretary – Bangladesh Jewellers Samity and Managing Director of Diamond World in an exclusive interview with daily Bangladesh Post. 

He said from the very beginning, his goal was to make diamond jewelry obtainable to the people from all walks of life. 

"I think diamond jewelry has now reached 90 percent of the people of Bangladesh. And if not, they possess at least one set of nose pin. And if the import duty on diamonds was not 160 percent, quality diamond jewelry could reach 100 percent of the people", Agarwala added.

Replying to a set of query, made by Bangladesh Post, Dilip Kumar Agarwala covered the wider extent of jewellery sector, it's challenges and future prospects. 

The excerpts of his interview is as bellow:  

Bangladesh Post: As the torchbearer of the diamond jewelry business in Bangladesh, we know that you have made the dream of common man to buy diamond jewelry at a very affordable price come true. Please tell us a little bit about your dreams, inspirations, and how everything is going at present.

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: First of all, I would like to thank you and all the readers of Bangladesh Post through you. To be honest, most of the people of this country used to consider only gold and silver ornaments as jewelleries even a decade ago. It was very challenging to introduce a new trend in the world of jewellery from that state. We consider jewellery as a fixed asset. Therefore, customers, especially middle-class consumers, buy jewellry by giving it a lot of thought.

It was like a shot in the dark; creating a market for completely imported goods, building people's trust, providing services, and taking investment risks by going beyond the age-old tradition.  

From the very beginning, my goal was to make diamond jewelry obtainable to the people from all walks of life. I think diamond jewelry has now reached 90 percent of the people of Bangladesh. And if not, they possess at least one set of nose pin. And if the import duty on diamonds was not 160 percent, quality diamond jewelry could reach 100 percent of the people.

Bangladesh Post: You have long been associated with the leadership of FBCCI, the apex trade organization of Bangladesh. How would you evaluate yourself as a business leader?

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: Although I have been involved in various businesses, I think the fulfillment of my business life came through the directorship of the federation. For the last six years, I have tried to utilize my time, talent, effort and power to the fullest to carry out the responsibilities entrusted to me. And I don't think I should say anything regarding evaluation.

It is the responsibility of all the members of the federation and my colleagues in the federation to evaluate me. I am also the President of Bangladesh Diamond Merchants Association and General Secretary of Bangladesh Gems Stone Merchant Association and Bangladesh Jewellers Association.

Bangladesh Post: Tell us about your current business ventures. How do you think you are contributing to the economic growth of the country through your business ventures?

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: I have been maintaining the honor of being the best taxpayer in my own district Chuadanga for the last 8 years. This means I am paying the highest taxes in a district, and the source of these taxes is my business. 

Diamond World has 25 showrooms in the country, Bangladesh Bank has given me gold dealership licence, I am the MD of lifestyle related showroom Prem’s Collection, I have a media house, I am the Chairman of Ar-Rahnu Multi-purpose Cooperative Society Ltd and Director of Bengal Commercial Bank. I am also involved in many other businesses. I think all these organizations are creating employment opportunities for a certain number of people and contributing to economic growth.

Moreover, I have plans to set up organic farms in different parts of the country. After meeting domestic demand, I would like to export organic products abroad by involving each chamber using local human resources and using advanced technology.

Bangladesh Post: Do you have any plans to launch Diamond World Ltd in the stock market through initial public offering (IPO)?

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: Yes, we have plans to enter the stock market and we are working accordingly. We will enter the market at a convenient time with everyone’s prayers and love.

Bangladesh Post: As a jewelry expert, please tell us something about the current condition of jewelry market in the country and abroad, as well as its problems and prospects in the local market.

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: Even before the introduction of the currency system, when exchange system prevailed, jewellery or the raw materials for making jewellery bore importance in all countries and at all times. Jewellery not only enhances beauty, but also wealth and social status.

The marketplace of jewellery is up to the mark in our country and abroad. Interestingly, although United States has the most refined reserves of gold; India is at the top in terms of jewellery consumption. African countries are rich in diamonds but they lag behind in use. 

Read more: Jewelry factory violates rules in Kishoreganj

The biggest gold market is in Dubai. Middle Eastern countries, including Turkey, are ahead in machine-made jewellery. However, in handmade jewellery, Bangladeshi and Asian artisans are world-class. In a word, the jewelry market is not bad. 

Bangladesh Post: You have recently become the director of a new generation commercial bank. How do you feel after joining a new trend?

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: Every businessman is more or less familiar with the banking system. Banks are the real friend of businessmen. Earlier, I used to receive service as a customer, now I will provide the service. The purpose of Bengal Commercial Bank is to ensure 100 percent service, especially, to help small and medium entrepreneurs to expand their business and above all to provide a modern banking service to the people.

Bangladesh Post: You are involved in social activities in different parts of the country at all times. Please tell 

us a little bit about your involvement in healthcare, education and socio-religious activities.

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: Well, it’s not exactly like that. I have been working for the socio-economic development in different parts of the country including Chuadanga, Alamdanga, Kushtia, Meherpur for a long time. Moreover, from the beginning of the pandemic period and till now, I have been working to help the victims of coronavirus, besides my regular activities.

Bangladesh Post: Please tell us about your social service activities in brief.

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: None of us will live forever. I don't want this kind of good initiative to die with my death. So I have established an organization named Tara Devi Foundation, from where various charitable activities are conducted with my personal help. 

In the field of education, I have been providing regular scholarships to meritorious students of schools, colleges and universities. I have been paying the fees of all the students of Dwarka Das Agarwala Women's College, one of the best colleges in Kushtia district, for the last 10 years.

Besides, I have distributed free educational materials and arranged Mid Day Meal in the educational institutions to prevent the poor students of Chuadanga and Magura from dropping out.

The Tara Devi Foundation, established in the name of my mother, provides 24-hour free ambulance service to pregnant mothers, newborns, freedom fighters and senior citizens through four ambulances in Chuadanga, Alamdanga, Meherpur and Kushtia.

During the month of Ramadan, I have been providing regular financial and educational assistance to various madrasas, including Iftar arrangements for the needy and destitute people in the nearby districts, including my own district.

Bangladesh Post: We know that you also have a reputation for being a creative writer, please tell us something about it.

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: In the midst of thousands of activities, I write to satisfy the hunger of my mind and out of social responsibility. In 2017, for the first time, my first book Adamya Bangladesh was published by Ittadi Grantha Prokash in Amar Ekushey Book Fair. Later, Digital Bangladesh and Shambhabanar Bangladesh were published in 2018, Ogrojatrar Bangladesh in 2019 and Agrashar Bangladesh was published in 2020.

The five books are basically a compilation of my writings in different national dailies, TV talk-shows, seminars or compiled and selected parts of different speeches at different times on different contemporary issues.

Bangladesh Post: What are the facilities provided by the government for the jewellery industry? What are the other facilities that could cause this business to develop in the country?

Dilip Kumar Agarwala: Ourpresent government is very business friendly. The government has already started the work of creating special economic zones across the country to encourage foreign investment. Bank loan rates have moved to single digits. In that case, it is necessary to create a special zone for the jewellery industry and provide help in allotment of land and construction of infrastructure, provision of adequate security and easy bank loans. 

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