Diamond industry downsizes exparts

Namibia’s diamond cutting industry has reduced the heavy reliance on expatriate labour, following improving local skills, the latest report of the Namibian Diamond Trading Company (NDTC) showed.
This is because of an effective skills transfer mechanism that has been used to make sure expatriates engaged in the industry can nurture locals in the different important aspects of the industry.
The report states that a skills transfer formula used in the past few years, has seen the local diamond cutting industry and sight holders, reducing reliance on expatriates from 17% to 10%.
“The Namibian  cutting and polishing industry saw a 38% increase in overall employment from 884 in April 2010 to the 1 223 in July 2011, for all the 11 operational companies,” the report noted.
However,a the Namibian market is seen to be a relatively expensive location to process the gems as compared to the Botswana market.
Statistics at hand show that the Namibian market remains between 10% to 15% per carat, more expensive than Botswana as a direct competitor.
Namdeb Diamonds Corporation also improved the amount of diamonds bought by their sight holders for beneficiation (the proportion of the value derived from asset exploitation which stays ‘in country’ and benefits local communities) for the year ending 2011, despite diamond prices going down at that period.
NDTC which is a partnership between the Government and DeBeers, in their latest report said the company’s sight holders purchased and beneficiated approximately N$1.8 billion worth of rough diamonds surpassing N$1.2 billion achieved in 2010.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of the NDTC Shihaleni Ndjaba noted that the period under review was extremely fruitful for the diamond beneficiation company.
“ The year 2011 was an in general an exceptionally good year for the company during which revenue grew from N6.5 billion to an all time N$7 billion for 2010 and 2011 respectively. That represents an increase of 8%. The exceptional growth in revenue was largely attributable to increases in consumer demands for both rough and polished diamonds and the continued strong price growth particularly those recorded in the first half of 2011,” Ndjaba said in his comment.
According to the NDTC financial statements, the company also managed to improve its tax contributions to the Government by 11% to N$88 million as compared to 2010, which recorded N$78.4 million.
Cumulatively the company has now paid a total of N$375 million to Government, excluding contributions that are made through Value Added Tax (VAT) payments.