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FICCI welcomes setting up of GST council's panel to address MSME concerns
Source: IRIS | 08 Aug, 2018, 10.06AM
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FICCI welcomes the initiative taken by the GST council to specifically discuss the issues and concerns being faced by MSMEs. "The decision of the GST council to set up a group of ministers comprising Finance Ministers of Bihar, Assam, Delhi, Punjab, and Kerala under the chairmanship of Minister of State for Finance Mr. Shiv Pratap Shukla will help in addressing the problems faced by the MSMEs," said Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI. Shah added, "the emphasis of the GST council on the fitment committee providing solutions with regard to the rate changes required, along with the pilot project for providing cash back facility to promote digital Payments, are also steps that will benefit MSMEs".

The Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) play a vital role in the economic and social development of the country, often acting as a nursery of entrepreneurship. They also play a key role in the development of the economy with their effective, efficient, flexible and innovative entrepreneurial spirit. "FICCI is confident that the committee will address the issues and will help provide speedy solutions to the problems faced by the MSMEs," said Shah.

FICCI has submitted some recommendations with regard to the MSMEs to the GST council. They include allowing single Pan-India registration. A single registration will mitigate the uncertainty, cascading and unnecessary compliances. It is imperative that a single registration be allowed for MSMEs with a credit mechanism that ensures that there are no credit blockages.

Simplifying the procedure for exports, including refund procedure as it has been observed by the taxpayers in the MSME sector that the requirement of letter of Undertaking poses additional compliance for them in terms of time and resources involved without serving any purpose for the department, especially when all the details of the exporter are already available with the revenue department in the form of PAN, Import Export Code. It is recommended that the requirement to submit LUT by the small exporters may be dispensed with. This would ease the compliance burden for MSMEs and encourage exports.

Also, the GST regime was meant to be a digitalized system; however, department authorities still insist that separate hard copies are also provided to claim refund. This defeats the purpose of digitalizing process. The time involved by the MSMEs in finally getting the refund sanctioned causes a tremendous strain on the cash flows of the MSMEs, which in turn restricts the possibility of increasing exports.

Meanwhile, it has been observed that there are considerable delays in processing of refund in case the tax on inputs is higher than tax on the output supply. It is recommended that considerable time and effort should be put in by the Government to clear such pending refunds. This is an important area of concerns for MSMEs and needs to be looked into.

It is also recommended that the exemption from paying GST under reverse charge should be provided up to a certain threshold of expenditure. This would reduce the compliance burden for MSMEs without much revenue loss for the Government.

In order to facilitate the interests of the service providers, it is suggested that the requirement of payment of GST on receipt of advance on services should also be removed, in case of supply of services.

Lastly, the GST applicable to Breakfast Cereals is requested to be reduced from current 18% to 12% as it will drive penetration of this nutritious food product to a great extent.

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