The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has requested the government for immediate fiscal support to save the hospitality sector from collapse. Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, vice president FHRAI, said to expect the industry to continue paying off loans without any income or revenue generation is simply unfair.
“Our right to conduct business was taken away but the right to recover loans from us is being allowed. This is discrimination against our industry. We request the government to offer a sector-specific policy which can mitigate all adverse financial impact, including debt obligations accrued towards banks, financial institutions or any other entities, in view of the current circumstances and its long-term repercussions,” he said.
FHRAI urged the government to make necessary special provisions to waive statutory charges for the hospitality sector, including a complete GST holiday for at least six months at the central and state levels. It said the industry should be allowed deferment on fiscal statutory compliance deadlines such as payment of direct and indirect taxes and professional tax. “Hospitality industry should be offered a waiver of property tax, water charges, electricity charges and excise license fees for the lockdown period. Hospitality industry employees should get priority vaccination and considered as front line workers.”
Surendra Kumar Jaiswal, vice president of FHRAI, said that along with moratorium extension of three years, the industry will need a complete waiver of interest on the loans from March 2020 till the time that business is normalized. “We request the government to announce a special measure for one of the worst affected sectors and bear the interest for a fixed period of time,” he said. “We urge the government to direct the RBI to charge the interest on loans at fixed deposit rates plus 2% for all loans taken by the hospitality sector. By doing this, banks will forgo only a fraction of profit which still can be sustained as there are other avenues that banks earn profit from.”