Exporters Rs 500-crore refund arrears released
THE finance ministry has cleared arrears of excise and CST refund to exporters worth Rs 500 crore pending in some cases for over a year. Commerce department officials said that the amount would be disbursed to exporters soon. The move is being viewed as one of the measures taken by the government to ease the burden of the appreciating rupee faced by exporters. The relief package for exporters being worked out by the government is also expected very soon, sources said. Finance minister P Chidambaram and RBI governor YV Reddy met on Tuesday to discuss the package. The package, which is to include a rise in the rate of reimbursement of input taxes to exporters among other measures, is being designed to partially bail out exporters whose profit realisation has been declining with the appreciation in the value of the rupee. The rupee has appreciated by an estimated 12% since March this year. Speaking to ET, official sources said that while the government owed the refund money to exporters, the finance ministry has, in the past, taken longer to clear the dues. “By clearing the arrears, the government has not gone out of its way to help exporters. But the fact that the finance ministry has taken cognisance of the tight spot exporters are in and has released the amount has to be appreciated,” an official said. Commerce ministry officials are, however, not sure whether interest will be paid on the due amount. Although, in the foreign trade policy announced earlier this year, it was said that the government will pay interest on pending payments to exporters, there is no clarity yet on whether the finmin is willing to oblige.