Special Economic Zones seek relief package to boost exports, jobs amid coronavirus lockdown

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Apex body for promotion of special economic zones EPCES has sought intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an incentive package for the sector, which is facing challenges due to the lockdown on account of Covid-19 outbreak.

In a letter to the Prime Minister, Export Promotion Council for SEZs and EOUs Vice Chairman Bhuvnesh Seth said the pandemic has severely impacted the sector with more than 50 per cent loss of export orders. He said that liquidity too is badly hit on account of recovery of receivables pertaining to the lockdown in exporting countries as those companies there have said they will delay the payments.

“Sir, on behalf of EOUs (export oriented units) and SEZs (special economci zones), my humble submission for an immediate roll out of an economic relief package,” Seth said in his letter. He said that EPCES sector is providing direct employment to more than 25 lakh persons with investment of more than Rs 5.50 lakh crore and contributing Rs 7.87 lakh crore to India’s export basket.

Seth also said that at present India being a most preferred country, the government should consider a special package to Japanese companies to invest in here.

“Presently, we have only one Act and policy for exports that is SEZ Act. But, under this act any new company operating after 30th June will be deprived of income tax benefits whereas other countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are offering customised packages to investors.

Unless Government of India consider a special policy or extend the SEZ Act, attracting investments will be a challenge. “Kindly consider a special package to infrastructure developers. Either by extending the sunset clause of SEZ or by announcing some financial package so that new investments come forward in this sector,” Seth said.

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