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Mobile retailers demand stimulus package to survive COVID-19 crisis


Offline mobile retailers have urged Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide a powerful stimulus package with new guidelines to help the mobile retailers combat the ongoing COVID-19 induced economic crisis. 

“It will be a complete disaster for shop owners if the government doesn’t come up with a balanced relief package. We fear at least 20% or more retailers will be forced to shut down their businesses,” said Arvinder Khurana, national president of the All India Mobile Retailers Association or AIMRA in a letter written to the FM. 

The industry body represents 1.5 lakh mobile retailers who may be unable to pay their monthly installments, shop rent, vehicle loan, home loan and business loans taken by them, the letter said. 

From a list of relaxations demanded, mobile retailers have requested guidelines be issued that landlords should not collect rentals for the lockdown period. They have also asked the government to pay 50% salaries of employees and the employer can pay 25% while employees should be asked to bear a cut of 25%. 

Given the ongoing lockdown, small businesses will not be able to bear more losses and will start laying off employees, the letter added. 

The retailers have also requested that each and every mobile retailer registered under the GST Act to be provided with 10 lakh loan at 5% per annum interest rate without collateral for 2 years. 

This plea for help comes a month after the government increased the GST on mobile phones from 12% to 18%. Following the hike, several mobile phone makers including Samsung, Oppo, Realme, Vivo and Xiaomi have increased the prices of their phones, a move that has added to the woes of mobile retailers.

Recently, AIMRA had also written a letter to NBFCs requesting them to delay installment payments by at least three months without penalties or impacting their CIBIL score. 

AIMRA has requested the government to consider their plea as retailers are looking for support from the government to ensure their survival and payment of wages to their staff. 

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