Apparel Export and Promotion Council (AEPC) Chairman A. Sakthivel wrote a letter to the Minister of Commerce and Industry seeking various precautionary measures for the apparel industry.
It requested non-declaration of companies’ accounts as Non Performing Assets (NPA) may be extended for a minimum of 1 year due to the lack of business and fixed costs will make accounts as NPAs.
In view of the liquidity challenges under current circumstances, the council seeks term loan EMIs to be postponed by 1 year and RBI may extend the bill realisation period by 6 months.
In continuation to the existing pleas, the council has asked for further extension of the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 for a period of 6 months taking into consideration the crisis.
AEPC requested reintroduction of the MEIS scheme for apparel exporters effective from 7 March 2019 to be continued beyond 31 March 2020.
Sakthivel mentioned that reimbursement of Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) may be given as ‘Direct Cash Transfer’, as in the case of erstwhile ROSL and drawback.
Also, the validity of all import instruments like EPCG and Export Obligations Periods (EOP) shall be extended further to 12 months without any penalty or surcharges.
Further, there is a need to extend the packing credit period for existing loans by 6 months. He demanded Interest Equalization Scheme to be enhanced from 3 per cent to 5 per cent for all apparel exporters and extension for a period of 2 years up to 31 March 2022.
The letter also read that restructuring of loans and existing limits must not be treated as downgrading of account and there should be no penalty on cancellations as it will help businesses to evolve and look out for ways to keep them floating.
On easing out labour compliances, he requested the Government to contribute for wages and salaries of the workers for the lockdown period plus appealed for the approval to allow industry to defer payment of PF, ESI and electricity charges by 3 months.
The letter ended on a gratitude note that read “We are grateful for all the support extended to minimise the adverse impact of the current situation on apparel exports and we are hopeful that these measures will, to a certain extent, help the industry to overcome the present liquidity crisis.”