Further to a representation made by Ralph De Sousa, President of Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a GCCI team met the Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho requesting exemption of Rural Improvement & Welfare Cess 2000 on cargo handled in Goan Inland waterways, currently being charged on minerals imported and transported in Goa except Iron Ore & Coal.
The State Government in the year 2000 enacted “Goa Rural Improvement and Welfare Cess Act 2000” with the principal objective of providing social-economic benefit and improved infrastructure to the areas affected by mining and movement of ore. This act was mainly applicable to the minerals mined in the State and imported for the use by industries in the state. With passage of time, this Act has been amended couple of times wherein additional items are included in the list and cess rates are increased.
In 2016, “District Mineral Foundation Fund” was established with the similar objective as envisaged in the Cess Act 2000, as a result cess and royalty paid on major minerals to the State has been reduced to nil. However, the cess on other minerals imported in the State of Goa continues.
With the implementation of GST, such levies, which were prevalent in other states, have been abolished. Result of this is most cargoes, which are handled in the state, are transported to our neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, as cess is resulting higher logistic cost as compared to the neighbouring states.
Considering the objective of collecting cess and Sagarmala vision of India, Goa Chamber requested to review and exempt the payment of cess collected on all types of minerals imported in the state of Goa and handled in Goan inland waterways. This would give relief to the coastal and inland waterways industry for loss of business due to cost competitiveness as compared to the neighbouring states apart from business to locals, barges and tippers.
Bauxite is one such commodity which could be imported at Goa Port and abolishing this cess could result in substantial savings in inland transport and will be viable for the importer as well as the transporters. This could also open the avenues of more such imports at Goa Port and give business to local stakeholders in the inland shipping sector.
The Minister was quick in grasping the economics of the matter and assured that he would take the matter to a logical conclusion. He requested for more inputs and said a detailed note will be put up from his office.
GCCI also requested the Minister to facilitate first/last mile road connectivity infrastructure to the available jetties in Goa. Most of the available and operative jetties in Goa, both public as well as private are having serious issues as regards to first/last mile road connectivity to the jetties.
GCCI recommended identifying such jetties in Goa and widening the approach roads to such jetties, along with other infra, such as power and water supply for smooth movement of cargo within Goa.
Mauvin Godinho said that he had always been working to boost the Goan economy and would provide the necessary infrastructure and support for the same.
The GCCI team consisted of GCCI Treasurer Chandrakant Gawas, Director Sanjay Amonkar and Naresh Mandrekar, Member, Logistics Committee.