The Indian cement industry has sought reduction of taxes, including value- added tax ( VAT), and liberal export sops in the upcoming budget. The industry that is suffering from overcapacity in the country, is hoping to tide over the problem by exporting a part of the production.
In a pre- budget memorandum submitted to the Union finance ministry, industry body Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) has proposed slashing VAT from the present 12.5 per cent to four per cent.
This is because steel enjoys ‘ declared goods’ status, while cement and clinker do not. The industry is looking for ‘ declared goods’ status, which would also lower the tax burden on these companies.
“ The cement industry has prepared itself to meet the massive needs of this critical input for infrastructure development.
As such we are expecting rationalisation of excise duty structure in the budget in the form of abatement and uniform rate,” said N. Bangur, managing director of Shree Cement Ltd.
"The industry has built a capacity that could meet all future needs for the product,” Bangur added. Though cement is the most essential infrastructure input, the tax on cement is the highest among infrastructure inputs, at over 60 per cent of the ex- factory price, CMA claimed.
" Levies and taxes on cement in India are far higher than in most other countries in the Asia- Pacific region where the average tax is just 11.4 per cent, with the highest levy of 20 per cent being in Sri Lanka,” CMA said in its pre- budget memorandum.