In a representation to the Maharashtra government, it also sought 50% waiver on the excise licence fee for the ongoing fiscal year
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has submitted a representation to the Maharashtra Government requesting for an immediate rollback of the 15% hike in the Excise Licence Fee for FY 2022-23. Citing the unpredictable nature of restrictions and other measures that may come into effect, if and when another pandemic wave breaks out, the Association has also requested that the Government offers a 50 per cent waiver on the fee for FY 2022-23.
“We are disappointed that the Government instead of helping us in our fight for survival has thought of burdening us by increasing the excise licence fee by another 15%. There is fear and anxiety in the hospitality sector due to the stop-start nature of repeated restrictions caused by the pandemic waves. Significant capital has been ploughed in by the industry to reopen and restart operations and is continuing to make efforts to bring back workers. Under these circumstances, let alone being in any capacity to bear an increase, it is impossible for FL3 license holders to pay license fees at all. We strongly oppose this increase and request that decision to hike the fee is immediately withdrawn and the industry is given a 50 per cent waiver on the existing fee for FY 2022-23,” said Sherry Bhatia, President, HRAWI.
Citing the unpredictability of business even in the future with the science community expecting more waves of the pandemic to hit, the HRAWI has urged the Government to provide an extension of the deadline to pay the license fees for FY 2022-23 from 31st March 2022 to 30th June 2022. It has also requested that establishments be allowed to pay the renewal fees for FY 2022-23 in four instalments.
HRAWI has stated that a complete lockdown was imposed on restaurants for 6 months and 12 days during the first wave of the pandemic and then, for another two months and 20 days during the second wave. Even when restaurants were allowed to operate, severe restrictions with curbs on operation timings and seating capacity were imposed on them. “Through the last two years, restaurants continued paying for salaries, property taxes, statutory fees, electricity, water and other overheads. However, license holders were unable to carry out the business due to the restrictions imposed by the State. The restaurant industry was severely affected with none to low footfalls. In the pre-pandemic days, the industry did not flinch while paying the excise licence fees but today, it is a different story,” Pradeep Shetty, Sr. Vice President, HRAWI, noted.