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I am not receiving as many (exporters) complaints as before: President, FIEO

The government’s GST refund fortnight window has made it possible that exporters get their refund if all the formalities have been gone through without lapses. Mr. Ganesh Kumar Gupta, President, FIEO has said that the fortnight refund was moving satisfactorily till now and could see a record clearance of about Rs 14,000-15000 crore adding that he is not receiving as many (exporters) complaints as before.

“Overall (refund fortnight has been) satisfactory. By the end of it, the refund clearance figure will be around Rs 14,000-15,000 crore because they (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) are aggressively refunding the IGST (Interstate GST) claims. We will know the exact figure soon,” said Gupta. 

This is almost double the amount cleared during the refund fortnight of March. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had cleared Rs 7,000 crore then.

The refund fortnight window to clear the backlog of exporters’ claims under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime could see close to Rs 14,000-15,000 crore of the pending amount being sanctioned by June 16.

Exporters and Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) feel that this 15-day window may not see the over Rs 20,000-crore refund – for which claims have been filed – sanctioned as there were issues that still remain unresolved.

The data put out by the Government recently showed that the GST refund sanctioned to exporters till now was Rs 30,000 crore. They said the pending claims amounted to Rs 14,000 crore, which is lower than the FIEO’s figure of Rs 20,000 crore.

Gupta said that refunds were still stuck for those who were unable to file returns due to technical glitches on the GST returns filing platform – GST Network (GSTN). Even claims – where the figures in the GST returns and refund claims were not matching – have been rejected by the CBIC.

“I am not receiving as many (exporters) complaints as before. So far, as my company or its sister firms are concerned, they have all received the refunds to the extent of 96%-97%. I believe everybody must be getting it,” added Gupta.

Ajay Sahai, Director General (DG) and CEO of FIEO, revealed that exporters' refunds are still stuck due to export general manifest (EGM) errors, which he believes could result in 5% of the refund claims lying with the CBIC.

“That is an area, where we require improvement because if there are EGM errors then the refund is not processed by the customs,” said Sahai.

The EGM is filed by exporters when a ship leaves the Country, which shows that there has been an export transaction.

“It (refunds related to EGM error) would be a sizeable amount. Most of those, who are exporting from Inland Container Depot of Ludhiana, Faridabad, Bengaluru and others are affected by it,” added Sahai.

The DG of FIEO said refunds are stuck due to returns filing issues, which have persisted as “system software has not been modified so far”.

“Around 3-4 days back, they (CBIC officials) told us that they will be modifying the software in a week’s time, but it has not yet been resolved (till now),” he said.

According to Sahai, problems relating to input tax credit (ITC) refund has also further aggravated the exporters’ working capital woes. “For exporters, who are not exporting in the month in which they procure inputs – for whom the ITC claims and exports are in different months – for such exporters (working capital) problem continues.”

 

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