NEW DELHI: Three weeks after the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime, exporters are still struggling to get their consignments shipped as customs officials are yet not clear on how to interpret the new rules.
Exporters have complained to the Vanaja N Sarna, Chairperson, Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), of the harassment they have been facing and are hoping for a solution soon.
“Consignments are getting stuck as officials are interpreting the custom notification on accepting existing bonds and undertakings from exporters any way they want. They are getting away with it as the Board has not prescribed a timeline under which it has to be accepted,” said Ajay Sahai, DG, FIEO.
Officials are getting away with the delays as the CBEC has not prescribed a timeline under which LUTs and bonds have to be accepted.
Pillar to post
“At times officials say that the papers would be accepted by the Assistant Commissioner. At other times they say that they will send it to the Commissioner. The Assistant Commissioner is in one part of the city while the Commissioner is in another. And they may take two days to just transfer the documents,” Sahai added.
Moreover, a number of documents being demanded from exporters are not even mentioned in the notification. “FIEO has complained to the Chairman of CBEC and also the Secretary. If this is happening in Delhi, you can imagine what is happening in tier-2, tier-3 cities,” he added.
A major concern now is that exports for the month could get impacted due to the long delays in getting consignments cleared after the rollout of GST. “The prevailing confusion could slow down exports for the month,” said an official source.
Sources said that imports by export oriented units were also getting impacted and the CBEC has now issued fresh clarifications allowing them to use the same continuity bond under GST. It has also allowed them to use a procurement certificate for import of goods till the end of the month.
It has also said that the inter unit transfer would be on the invoice on payment of applicable GST taxes.
“Such a transfer would be without payment of custom duty,” said the new CBEC circular.
Official sources said that all steps are being taken to ensure that exports do not face any delay and customs officials are being briefed about the provisions. To prevent the pile up of export consignments, the CBEC had earlier also relaxed provisions allowing exports to continue under existing bonds and letters of undertaking till July 31. It had also said that exporters can now submit bonds or LUTs in the revised format for GST by the end of the month.