Punjab SMEs pin high hopes on the Centre

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The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of Punjab, which are grappling with many problems, have huge expectations from this year’s Budget. In Punjab alone, the SMEs and small-scale industries (SSIs) sector contributes 99 per cent of the total industrial units in the state. According to the data, the state had 206,833 working units till 2007-08.

Speaking to Business Standard, Punjab Chamber of Small Exporters Vice-President Ashwani Kohli said, “SMEs have huge expectations from the Budget. We want the government to simplify the cumbersome procedures especially for the SMEs. We have to fill atleast 27 returns in order to comply with the norms of various departments. Further, we want the credit flow to SMEs to be at a nominal rate of interest”.

Expressing his views he further added, “We expect the government to take certain proactive steps in order to boost this sector which is one of the driving force in the Indian economy. Secondly, volatile steel prices is an area of concern for the exporters, as there are no assurances of the price at which the steel would be available. We demand the government to evolve a mechanism, so that steel prices could be made stable for at least six months, which can facilitate us to quote the exact prices to our buyers. Since we are sitting in Punjab, we have locational disadvantage, as raw material prices are too high compared to the Industry located near ports. We want the raw material prices especially steel in Punjab should be at par with the prices at which it is available near the ports.” 

Thirdly, we want 100 per cent income tax exemption under section 80 HHC on export profit should be resumed, which was withdrawn in 2004. It would be better if the government resume it and extend it to 2012, so whatever the exporters suffered a setback during global recession can be compensated for. We also want that we should be given 50 per cent concession on freight from Industry to ports on finished product meant for exports.

Echoing similar sentiments, Engineering Export Promotion Council Convener (Hand Tools Panel) Sharad Aggarwal said, “We expect the Central government should not make any further delay in the implementation of goods and services tax. It should be implemented as soon as possible. We also want the interest subvention on the small scale sector, being a labour intensive industry, to be increased from two per cent to four per cent. This will help us to procure more orders from foreign customers and provide more employment to workmen. Also the banks take a long time in crediting to the exporters this subvention amount, it would be better if the banks credit the account in a time-bound manner. Normally, pre-shipment credit in foreign currency is not easily available from the banks at all times. This may kindly be made more easily available. Also, hidden expenses like processing charges and arrangement fees are charged by banks separately and this defeats the entire purpose of a cheaper loan. We want there should not be any hidden charges on loan or other services.”

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