Sardinha allows ST holiday till March 2000

| 06 December 1999 11:41 IST

In a major step to reverse the cabinet decision of his predecessor, chief minister Francisco Sardinha has announced that the sales tax exemption for the new industries would remain in force up to March 2000.

The erstwhile Congress government led by Luizinho Faleiro had come under severe criticism from the industry as well as trade unions for unilaterally taking a decision to withdraw 50 per cent of the exemption from 1 October onwards even for those who were enjoying it.

Since 1972, Goa was enjoying 15-year sales tax holiday for the small industries and 12 years for the medium and large scale industries. Following threats of protests and bandh, Faleiro had finally kept the decision of withdrawal with retrospective effect in abeyance, though the new industries were denied it from 1 October.

"It had sent wrong signal throughout the world. Goa wants to be investment-friendly and honour its commitment", said Sardinha while announcing the decision after his first cabinet meeting held today. "I cannot let down those who were in the process of setting up their shops here", he added.

As per the decision, all industries who go into production by 31 March 2000 would get the sales tax exemption, which has been brought down to 10 years for the medium and large industries though small industries would continue getting it for 15 years.

Realising that several small industries were upgrading the firm to the medium or large industry category and getting the exemption benefits afresh, Sardinha's Goa Democratic Alliance government however has decided that the exemption would be one-time affair.

Incidentally, the limit for five-year income tax holiday also expires in March 2000. "I expect the industries to come in by having full faith in our administration", says 13-day old chief minister, hoping that the ban on power would also be lifted shortly by the high court.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement that the government can reverse such financial commitment in case the state is going bankrupt, Faleiro had suddenly taken this decision for the purpose of revenue generation. "I will tap it from somewhere else", says Sardinha, who is yet to apply his mind on mopping up revenue.

Besides presenting a white paper on Goa's financial state, Faleiro had also set up a working group comprising of the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Goa Small Industries Association to suggest alternate methods for resource mobilisation from the industry. The report is expected by the month end. is now on Telegram & also Youtube. Kindly subscribe for free & remain updated.

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