RAI urges Finance Minister to grant retailers emergency benefits
The Retailers Association of India has asked Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to support retailers by extending the emergency credit line guarantee scheme and granting a six-month loan moratorium.
As brick-and-mortar stores remain closed in many localities under lockdown and many online retailers face restricted operations, the RAI has asked the government to step in and aid the sector to mitigate the financial damage. On April 28, the RAI asked Sitharaman for a moratorium on principal and interest of all loans for up to six months and a reduction of interest rates on all loans. The traders’ body also asked for an extension of the benefits of the emergency credit line guarantee scheme 3.0 to retail companies.
“Retail businesses across the country are among the worst hit as several states have mandated lockdown of malls and shopping complexes where most modern retailers operate,” said the RAI in a statement, the Press Trust of India reported.
“The industry is finding it hard to survive through the immense financial stress that is threatening to derail businesses.”
The RAI stated that around 80% of retail outlets are closed due to various local lockdown restrictions which could lead to Rs 75,000 crore ($11.3 billion) becoming non-profitable assets should the Reserve Bank of India do nothing.
“This will put at risk almost three million jobs directly in the retail sector,” said the RAI.
“Associated sectors that depend upon retail would also be similarly impacted. In the textile sector alone, across the entire value chain almost 10 million jobs are at risk. Further, it will extinguish the engine that can kick-start a consumption led recovery for our economy.”
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