Fast-track GST refund, else Rs 65K crore may be stuck: Exporters

Fearing that a staggering Rs 65,000 crore could get stuck in GST refunds, exporters today asked the government to fast-track the refund process and avoid further deterioration in their “liquidity situation”.

The Committee on Exports, chaired by Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, today met 8 export promotion associations to understand their concerns post the implementation Goods and Services Tax (GST) from July 1.

“If refund does not start flowing immediately then about Rs 65,000 crore would be stuck by the end of October. This will further deteriorate exporters’ liquidity situation,” FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai told reporters after the meeting.

He hoped that government would take a decision soon so that exporters get a level playing field vis-a-vis other sectors.

During the meeting the exporters pressed for starting the refund process immediately based on GSTR-1 and GSTR-3B data.

While GSTR-3B is the initial simplified returns which businesses have to file, GSTR-1 is the final sales return to be filed every month.

Engineering Export Promotion Council board member P K Shah said with the ensuing festive season it is important that the authorities release at least 90 per cent refunds soon after the shipments and complete verification and adjustment process at a later stage.

Council for Leather Exports Vice Chairman P Ahmed said that exporters are faced with challenging times due to GST and need immediate refund of taxes.

The Gems and Jewellery Industry demanded exemption from Integrated GST (IGST) on procurement of precious metals from the nominated agencies for the purpose of manufacture and export of jewellery. They also sought a corresponding Central GST and State GST exemption on the subsequent supply made by the nominated agencies to the exporter of jewellery.

The GST Council, chaired by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and comprising state counterparts, had in its last meeting on September 9 decided to set up a committee under Adhia to look into the issues faced by the export sector.

In its presentation before the committee, the FIEO stated that huge capital is blocked in refund and exporters will have to pay GST for July to October period from own resources. “MSME units do not have capacity to pay further GST and thus they are refusing further orders. Our competitors exempt taxes on inputs for exports, therefore, ab-initio exemption be restored,” it said.

Merchant exporters should also be exempted from GST on procurement against bond or letter of undertaking (LUT), it added. “Scrips should be be allowed to pay GST; bond/LUT should be dispensed with as GSTN may map invoices with shipping bill; there should be an uniform GST rate for Job work in all sectors, the FIEO said.

CBEC Member (Customs), DGF Director General, GST Council Additional Secretary, Director General, Export Promotion, from the central government and commissioners of commercial taxes from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are members of the committee.

The panel is mandated to recommend to the GST Council a suitable strategy for helping the export sector in the post-GST set-up.


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