Swedish furniture and home furnishing retailer IKEA on Friday said it is looking forward to the rollout of India’s national retail policy, bringing offline and online retail into a single policy framework and reducing the compliance burden.
In its Budget wishlist, IKEA India also called for reduction of GST rates “on products that are basic to life at home” and lowering of customs duties on good quality furniture and home products.
“The economic impact of the pandemic on the income of people in India must not be underestimated. To stimulate demand, it is important that money is increased in the hands of people and products remain affordable,” IKEA India CFO Preet Dhupar said in a statement.
As a result of the pandemic, she said, “We also see life at home take an increasing significance as hybrid work models will continue to emerge in the future.”
Stating that the retail sector has played an important role in the lives of citizens during the pandemic, she said, “We look forward to the roll out of the National Retail policy, bring offline and online retail into a single policy framework, reduce the compliance and regulatory burden, give industry status to retail along with financial incentives to large scale projects.”
In order to make Indian furniture competitive, Dhupar said customs duties on raw materials and intermediaries which are not available in India should be brought down.
“PLI schemes, financing at lower rates, tax benefits in the initial years will support companies that want to manufacture in India. To increase India’s competitiveness in the global market, we must also look at adopting global quality standards that are tried and tested,” she added.
Stressing that the retail sector has the potential to attract FDI, Dhupar suggested increasing the time to set off and carry forward losses and interest beyond 8 years as retail is a capital-intensive sector.
“Tax consolidation between group companies will go a long way to simplify operations for companies, ensure tax optimization and reduce litigations,” she added.
For an industry that spends money on construction of its stores, there is also a loss of GST credit on spends, Dhupar said adding, “This anomaly should be removed.”
Expecting the Budget to focus on providing stimulus for growth of the economy, she said, “To do this, we believe it is important to take steps to trigger private consumption, support manufacturing and exports, promote and set aside funds towards infrastructure related capital expenditure and continue to focus on the spending in public health and healthcare.”