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Big developers mull pulling out of SEZ projects

June 15, 2011 18:11 IST

SEZAs many as 15 developers, including Essar, Bengal Shapoorji, K Raheja Universal and Satyam Computer Services may pull out of their SEZ projects, following withdrawal of tax exemptions, an industry body said on Wednesday.

More developers may withdraw their special economic zones projects, as they lose tax-free status with imposition of minimum alternate tax and further burden through direct tax code, Export Promotion Council for Export-oriented Units and and SEZs said.

"Many more SEZs which are yet to commence commercial activities may withdraw from the scheme,as they are now put on par with any domestic tariff area sector which enjoys more operational freedom," it said.

On top of 18 per cent MAT, additional tax burden of 15 per cent would be levied on them when the direct tax code comes into operation.

Out of 584 formally approved SEZs, 378 have been notified, while 133

have become operational.

Exports of Rs 3,15,868 crore (Rs 3,158.68 billion) out of the functional SEZs have shown 43 per cent growth, while total employment of 6.76 people has been created.

"Potential of higher exports, accelerated employment generation and investment the from balance 451 SEZs would be of much higher magnitude," the council said.

It said while the manufacturing sector,in general, has shown considerable decline, the industrial activity in  SEZs has displayed commendable growth.

"The growth can be attributed to the tax concessions and administrative support given in the SEZ policy", it said.

However, with the MAT and the proposed burden in the DTC, the government is going back on its commitments which would 'result into lack of credibility in the minds of investors,' it said.

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