FIEO: Exporters seek nod to restart ops with 50% staff, essential tag

Economy


New Delhi: Exporters have sought that they be allowed to restart operations with 50% staff, in order to help pay wages, prevent migrant labourers from returning to their hometowns and stop loss of market share to China. The petition to the government by exporters’ associations comes amid a 21-day nationwide lockdown.

“Exporting units should be allowed to start operations with 50% labour force as it will help in paying wages, maintain social distance at their residence and above all, prevent loss of market to China,” said Ajay Sahai, director-general of the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

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FIEO has asked the government to declare the complete supply chain, including labour required for loading, transport of goods, courier services and port facilities, as essential service. Manufacturer-exporters have sought permission to start manufacturing and fabrication work after completion of the lockdown period.

Exporters have seen order cancellations of as much as 30% from buyers. They fear cancellations could increase if they are unable to fulfil existing orders. They have said that customs at major ports are not functioning normally despite instructions from the Centre. “Even entry of exports has been closed at major ports.

As a result, export goods that have already entered the ports are incurring detention charges 24×7,” said T Rajkumar, chairman of the Confederation of Indian Textile Industry in a letter to commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal. The apex body of textile exporters has sought smooth movement of ready cum in-transit consignments to the ports for shipment through amendments in the provisions regulating movement of goods vehicles.

It has also requested that port authorities should have necessary support systems to handle the cargo. The country’s outbound shipments have also been hit because international courier services are not functioning due to the lockdown. Indian banks have to send export documents to foreign banks, but courier companies are not taking the documents due to which importers are unable to get the consignments released and make payments.

“For MSMEs from across handicrafts sector, we propose exemption from caution listing of exporters by RBI to be extended and collateral free lending up to Rs 2 crore may be implemented,” said the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts in its presentation to Goyal, adding that the collateral requirement should be capped at 35-40% for lending beyond Rs 2 crore.



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