Scores of exporters are in a financial mess, as they are facing a substantial delay in getting duty drawback amounting to over Rs.650 crore for the last two months from the Chennai Customs.

According to industry sources, over thousands of exporters have been requesting the Chennai Sea Customs to release the duty drawback sum to them, as it is an incentive provided by the Centre to make their products competitive in the international market. The delay is mainly attributed to non-availability of funds with the Customs. Drawback rates are fixed by the Centre based on several parameters.

Sources said that as of November 7, a sum of Rs.668 crore was pending through nearly 65,000 documents. On Monday, the Customs released Rs.50 crore for the scroll generated for September and October.

Out of the 63,000 documents, drawback is pending for over 22,200 documents while the officials have raised queries on 12,512 documents. At the same time, Export General Manifesto has not been filled by Shipping Lines for 18,963 documents and there were errors on 2,605 documents.

Expressing concern over the delay, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), Director General and CEO, Ajay Sahai has written a letter to Central Board of Excise and Customs, Chairperson in this regard.

This is not the first time that FIEO has expressed its concern over the locking of exporters’ money in duty drawback. During March, FIEO president M. Rafeeque Ahmed called for tweaking the system as the exporters are hard pressed for liquidity. Despite several attempts to reach the Customs Commissioner (Export) over the phone, he could not be reached for comments.

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