CII suggests 10-point action plan to boost exports

Stimulus needed, GDP range expected from (-)0.9 to 1.5% in FY21: CII

New Delhi: The Conferederation of Indian Industry (CII) has suggested a 10-point action plan to provide the much needed boost to exports that has been hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic and closing of borders and restriction on people’s movement.

In a representation to the government, CII has said that export consignments which are ready for shipment should be allowed to be transported from the manufacturer’s factory or warehouse to the Customs facility as an exemption and such consignments should clearly show on the accompanying Invoice and e-way Bill that the goods are for an export shipment meant for a foreign buyer.

Second, it has suggested that a one-time relaxation should be provided by the Government by way of extending the time limit for filing bill of entry and payment of customs duty.

Also given lockdown and financial hardship which Companies are facing, it is desirable that deferred payment of duty is continued for the month of March 2020 and may be extended till June 2020, CII said in its action plan for the exports sector.

“The short-term impact on exports has started showing up with exporters facing liquidity crunch as customers payments are not coming through and shipments of ready goods are not able to leave the factory or lying at the port because of lockdown situation globally,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

The industry chamber has also sought extension of 5 per cent interest subventions scheme to all exporters; extra duty drawback of 3 per cent be extended for six months, expedite GST refund and extend moratorium on loan, interest payments, utility payments and declaration of NPAs by banks by at least six months are required to overcome the crisis.

As fourth point under its 10 point action plan, CII has said that 100 per cent or maximum number of bills of entries should be processed based on self-declaration of importer and through the Electronic Risk Management System and in case of any deficiencies, importer undertaking should be accepted, and cargo be released. This would ease supply chain process by ensuring speedy clearance of cargo, the release said.

Considering COVID-19 restrictions and the fact that only the procedural part of obtaining/issuance of Export Obligation Discharge Certificate (EODC) by DGFT is pending, the Customs Department should not go for encashment of Bank Guarantee for at least another six months, i.e. until September 30, 2020, the CII said.

The industry body has also sought waiver of demurrage and container freight station (CFS) charges to provide relief to exporters who in current scenario are facing increase in the import container clearance time that has resulted in high charges.

Also as courier services may get affected during this crisis, sending the original shipping documents by courier could be difficult and so the Customs authorities, shipping lines and CFS should give some relaxations during this time to the exporters and importers by way of relaxing the requirements for originals or waive the demurrage charges resulting from delayed document rece ipts, CII said.

It has also suggested that there is a need to identify few ports and airports where exports will be handled with priority.

In other suggestions, CII has said that banks need to identify branches in sufficient numbers which would give priority to exporters process all export documents on an urgent basis. Also, packing credit be increased by at least 25 per cent for exporters and the threshold for returning export packing credit be increased from 180 days to 360 days.

Last, CII has strongly recommended that all export benefits as per current Foreign Trade Policy should be continued until June 30, 2020 or announcement of new Foreign Trade Policy.