LBT issue sorted, back to business

Traders from Navi Mumbai heaved a huge sigh of relief yesterday as the long-pending disagreement over the payment of Local Tax Body (LBT) on goods imported into the city was largely resolved. During a meeting of traders from the satellite city with urban development officials in the presence of Thane’s guardian minister Ganesh Naik, they were assured that they would not have to dispense the cess they they were paying earlier. The assurance has put the merchants at ease.

Traders had staged several protests across the city against the Local Body Tax. Pic/Sayed Sameer Abedi

Earlier, traders from Navi Mumbai would pay 0.2-1.5% cess. However, according to the recent notification they were told that with cess being abolished they would have to pay only LBT which could range anywhere between 2-3.5%. Traders were seen strongly opposing this decision and had expressed their protest by shutting businesses.

Kirti Rana, director of Vashi’s Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) said, “We were already maintaining books for cess and if we are simply expected to continue with the same just by changing the name of it to Local Body Tax (LBT) it will not burden us. But, now we are opposing the sharp increase in the amount of tax which had been implemented.” At the meeting traders were informed that LBT is here to stay.

“The general resolution (GR) is expected to come shortly and we are happy that the government has been considerate towards us by putting forth our plea before the state. The future generation definitely does not want licence raj and inspector raj to come in, which would make it difficult for them to continue with business.

Ganesh Naik, minister of excise and Thane guardian minister, who was present at the meeting has assured us that we don’t need to worry about the increase in percentage and can stick to old rates. For markets like APMC, such kinds of taxes can be very burdensome,” said Rana, who is also president of Confederation of All India traders and Navi Mumbai merchant’s chambers. When contacted Thane guardian and state excise minister Ganesh Naik was not available for comment.

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