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SCAI seeks relief to help ease cash flow pressures

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The Shopping Centres Association of India (SCAI) has sought relief from several state governments — in the form of waivers on property taxes and fixed electricity charges — to help ease cash flow challenges resulting from the ongoing second wave of Covid-19 across India.

“We have written to all the state governments for waiver of property tax, fixed charges of electricity, signages and extension of licences tenure,” PTI quoted SCAI Chairman Mukesh Kumar as saying.

“Property taxes are the huge outgo for all the malls. When the malls are closed and we are not collecting money from everyone, how do you expect us to pay the property taxes,” he said.

The association has also requested the state governments to allow shopping centres to commence operations as soon as restrictions imposed are eased.

Rajneesh Mahajan, CEO, Inorbit Malls and board member, SCAI pointed out that mall operators have recently received property tax invoices, and announcement of some kind of relief before the payments are made could ease cash flow pressures.

Speaking about the association’s request for relief on operating licences, Mahajan told PTI, “In the last 15 months, we have used signages for barely 3-4 months and we have paid taxes for two years.”

The association also expects some relief from the Reserve Bank of India in terms of one-time restructuring and moratorium.

“For large infrastructure projects like malls where significant money is spent upfront, we have a lot of banking costs that we carry in our businesses. If the RBI allows some kind of moratorium, waiver on interest and restructuring of loans, it will be of great help for us,” Mahajan added.