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Nagaland trade bodies demand rollback of COVID-19 cess on petrol, diesel

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Dimapur, April 30: The Confederation of Nagaland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CNCCI) has demanded immediate rollback of the COVID-19 cess on diesel, petrol and motor spirit as notified by the Government of Nagaland on April 28.
The Government of Nagaland has raised the cess on diesel and petrol and other motor spirit by Rs 5 and Rs 6 respectively, thereby becoming the first State in India to levy COVID-19 cess.
In a representation to the Chief Minister of Nagaland seeking review of the COVID-19 cess, the CNCCI said the price of many essential commodities across the country has shoot up from the source due to the lockdown and the business community and consumers are bearing the brunt. It said the COVID-19 cess will further push the price of essential commodities as transportation cost will increase.
“This will have negative impact on the state economy,” it said.
Stating that the business community, churches, NGOs and the citizens of Nagaland have come forward to assist the government in the fight against COVID-19, the CNCCI pointed out that on the other hand the business community and the consumers are hard hit economically due to the lockdown stretching from March to May. It suggested that the benefit of global price slump on oil should rather be passed on to the consumers and give some relief and respite.
Pointing out that the business community of the State as elsewhere around the globe has been hit hard due to the lockdown, the CNCCI said the business community will require huge support and conducive environment from the State government for our economy to roll smoothly for State to earn revenue from GST/SGST. “It is, therefore, strongly suggested that in the interest of the state economy to bounce back to normalcy at the earliest the state government should roll back the Cess as it would have far reaching consequences on the state economy,” it stated.
If the Government is unable to rollback the cess, the CNCCI wanted that the cess be reduced by 75%.
BAN: The Business Association of Nagas (BAN) has also expressed shock at the decision of the State Government to levy COVID-19 cess of Rs 6 and Rs 5 per litre on petrol and diesel respectively and has appealed to the State Chief Minister to roll back the cess with immediate effect.
In a release, BAN also expressed shock that Nagaland is the only State to levy such a cess in this manner
“It does not require rocket science technology to foresee the negative impact that would have on the economy of the state. The unprecedented enhancement on the fuel price will have cascading impact on all walks of life, primarily on the economic enterprises of the state. Moreover, with the consequent increase in the freight charges as also the agricultural production cost, the livelihoods of the citizens, particularly the rural masses will be drastically affected.”
Appealing to the CM to roll back the cess, the BAN expressed hope that the Government will act responsibly taking into account the predicament of the business community at large.
MCCI: The Mokokchung Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) has also demanded that the COVID-19 cess on diesel and petrol by “repealed” by the Government without delay.
“The sordid performance of practically anything undertaken by the government of Nagaland is common knowledge. The latter’s “COVID-19 Cess on Diesel, Petrol” which came into effect on midnight of April 28 further reveals just how incapacitated the government of Nagaland is in not only tackling the COVID-19 pandemic but also in the whole gamut of governance,” it stated in a release.
Reacting to the State Chief Secretary’s statement that the targeted revenue for the month of March was Rs 106 crores but collected Rs 5 crores only because of the lockdown, the MCCI said it understands the rationale put forth by the Chief Secretary but was of the view that “accruing revenue by jeopardizing the whole economy is not wise.”
“The government ought to be focused on facilitating and enabling the recovery of the state’s fragile economy rather that abusing state power to slay what remains of the economy, let alone adding more burden on the shoulders of the already weary citizens,” it said.
“It will indeed be a pleasant surprise if the government of Nagaland would announce a stimulus package to help local businesses tide over the financial stress caused by the lockdown, thereby effecting a decisive impact on stimulating an economic revival, instead of further choking Nagaland’s fragile economy,” it added.
(Page News Service)

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