MSME exporters facing huge liquidity challenges due to stoppage of MEIS benefits of over Rs 10k cr:

The Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has said that MSME exporters are facing huge liquidity challenges due to the stoppage of MEIS benefits of over Rs 10,000 crore from April 1 and IGST refunds.

The Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), introduced in April 2015, will be wound up by December 31, 2020, and the government has already announced the Remission of Duty or Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme to replace MEIS. 

''Despite the pandemic, Indian exporters have started receiving a lot of enquiries and orders from across the globe helping many sectors to show improved export performance, which is likely to get better in next few months. However, exporters, particularly from MSME sector, are facing huge liquidity challenges due to the stoppage of MEIS benefits of over Rs 10,000 crore from 1.4.2020 and IGST refund now,'' said FIEO president Sharad Kumar Saraf on Monday. 

''At this point of time when exporters are receiving new orders from new buyers and destinations, support needs to be given to help them to execute such orders. Unfortunately, many of the exporters have expressed their inability to honour such orders, in view of liquidity challenges, due to stoppage of exports benefits and refund of GST,'' he added. 

Saraf urged the government to look into the issue as any letup in our export efforts, at this juncture, will cost us dearly while successful execution of these orders will bring additional export business from new and unexplored territories. 

''All wings of the government should sit together to resolve the technical and financial issues, helping the seamless flow of liquidity to the exports sector,'' opined Saraf. 

FIEO president also said that banks are helping eligible exporters with the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) but due to hold up of GST refund and MEIS, the exporters are forced to seek additional loans from banks and such additional requirement is now subject to very high interest rates. Banks need to consider this pragmatically and provide a competitive interest rate to the exports sector particularly as the deposit rates have come down substantially with the reduction in key interest rate. 

''The government needs to pay interest on the delay in refunding GST to compensate the exporters,'' he added. 

FIEO also urged the government to address the issue of Risky Exporters by providing them duty drawback and IGST benefits against a bond, if physical verification of such exporters has been established. The SOP issued for risky exporters may be meticulously followed so that after due verification, exporters are taken out from the category immediately. 

Saraf exuded confidence that export performance is improving and with due support from all the stakeholders, we can bring exports back on track by the end of the year.