Budgetary Measures for the Export Manufacturing Sector

  1. Review of the Definition of SMEs:
  • The SME Act will be amended to review the definition of SMEs:
Size Turnover Threshold (Rs)
Micro From Rs 2 million -10 million
Small >Rs 10 million – Rs 30 million
Medium >Rs 30 million – Rs 100 million
Mid-Market >Rs 100 million – Rs 250 million
  • Mid-Market Enterprise with a turnover up to Rs250m will now be included as a new category under the SME Act.
  • SMEs will benefit from the Freight Rebate Scheme on the South African market.
  • The DBM will extend the SME interest free loan scheme and the COVID-19 Special Support Scheme up to June 2023.
  • DBM is allocating Rs5bn to support SMEs, Mid-Market Enterprises, and entrepreneurs.
  • The MIC is setting up a Venture Capital Fund of Rs5bn targeting SMEs and Mid-Market Enterprises.
  • A 50% grant up to Rs500,000 for the purchase of recycling equipment and transportation vehicles from local suppliers for the co-operative sector.
  1. Logistics – Connectivity:
  • The Freight Rebate Scheme (FRS) and the Trade Promotion and Marketing Scheme (TPMS) will be extended up to June 2023.
  • Exporting agents of locally manufactured products will also be eligible to the TPMS.
  • The 50% reduction in port charges on exports is maintained.
  • Implementation of the Regional Feeder Vessel on a chartering basis:
  • Phase 1 “La Route de L’Inde” will start in September 2022 and service the South Asian route including India, Sri Lanka, and Seychelles.
  • Phase 2 “La Route de L’Afrique Orientale” will be launched in November 2022 and service the Eastern African countries notably Madagascar, Tanzania, and Kenya.
  1. Renewable Energy:

Carbon Neutral Industrial Sector

A renewable energy transition framework is being implemented through:

  • The generation of up to 150 percent of existing usage by industrial users;
  • The provision of an agreed feed-in tariff of Rs 4.20 for industrial users by the CEB;
  • Allowing the setting up of both on-site and off-site PV installations by industries; and
  • The introduction of a Carbon Neutral Loan Scheme by the IFCM over 7 years at a preferential rate of 3 percent.
  • A Committee will be chaired by the Prime Minister to fast-track the implementation of Renewable Energy projects to attain this objective.
  1. Labour Related Measures:

Work Permit

  • To expedite the issuance of work permits, a Work Permit Committee to be chaired by the Prime Minister will be set up.

Workers’ Rights Act

  • Provide that when a cyclone class III or IV is in force, a worker who is required to work from home, or any other place where he has been assigned duty or to stay at his place of work be also entitled to the cyclone allowance and that the allowance will not be payable to a person drawing more than Rs 600,000 in a year;
  • Provide that payment of food allowance be also extended to workers employed on shift or otherwise and whose normal hours of work in a day exceeds 10 hours;
  • Provide for such category of workers to be eligible to the payment of additional remuneration;
  • Clarify that where a worker is eligible to refund of transport expenses, his employer should refund him the amount incurred in respect of the mode of transport (either bus or light rail) used by the worker;
  • Provide that where a worker, irrespective of his salary, is paid a petrol allowance, the allowance be increased by 10 %, up to a maximum of Rs 2,000 in a month;
  • Introduce a new provision regarding leave to take care of a sick child, whereby a worker can avail himself of up to 5 days from his paid leave entitlement to take care of his sick child;
  • Remove the ceiling of 90 days to give a worker the possibility to accumulate all his untaken sick leave;
  • Provide that where a worker has given a written explanation to answer a charge of misconduct or poor performance, the worker can also be given an opportunity to answer the charge in an oral hearing;
  • Ensure a more efficient administration of the PRGF by providing that a worker can be paid in the first instance 90 % of his retirement benefits on the date of his retirement. The balance is to be paid after completion of the benchmarking exercise following filing of the last return by the employer;
  • Clarify that in cases of retirement and death, payment of lump sum in respect of past services be paid directly to the worker or the heirs of the deceased worker;
  • Provide that a worker can voluntarily retire before the age of 60 where he has already completed 436 months’ service;
  1. Customs Act:

Main highlights of the Customs Act, among others;

  • The penalty provision for failure to submit a Bill of Entry for the clearance of goods within 5 working days after the time an aircraft has landed or a vessel has been berthed will be suspended up to 30 June 2023.
  • Presently, the requirement to furnish a security by bond with adequate surety to cover the amount of taxes in case of default or in compliance with Customs Laws differs under various provisions of the Customs laws. The provisions will be harmonized and at least one adequate surety will be required in all cases.