Nikesh Parekh, Span Cements, Cement Distributors
GST was introduced nearly a year ago. How do you review GST, from a dealer's point of view?
Earlier we had to file quite a few returns - VAT, service tax and other returns, now we have to file only one return. That is the first impact. However, procedures have increased a bit. But it's easy, so no problem.
Is there any difference percentage-wise?
No, it is the same. Even earlier all taxes added together to around 28 per cent.
Did you face any initial pangs in adhering to GST at the beginning? Do you think GST process has stabilised by now?
No, we have never faced any issues because we were already paying taxes even earlier. Whatever we sell, we sell with bill, and whatever we buy, we buy with bill. It did not make us any difference. The tax rates keep on changing, otherwise there is no problem, the systems has stabilised.
What has been the impact of GST on cement, when compared to other related products like you are also in paints?
For cement the prices are dependent on demand and supply. Even when the GST was increased the price did not increase. The price has come down also at times. So cement price movements are very different, it is highly volatile. It works purely on demand and supply. Assume that the cement price today is Rs 245 + GST. It can come down to Rs 210 also. That way it is not dependent on GST at all.
So, for other products like paints, once they fix the price they don't change at all?
Yes, except for some promotion schemes giving hardly 2-3 per cent of benefit that neither affects the selling price nor affect the GST.
What are the benefits that have accrued to your firm and the industry?
With the e-way bill that has come in, it has increased the procedural work for our principals. UltraTech has to make an e-way bill when the stock leaves their stockyard. All that procedure work has increased. Transparency doesn't affect us.
Input credit is there in the GST. For a few months nobody understood how to get it? Whether the industry is able to take advantage of the same by now?
See it is a matter of time, people have understood everything. Take UltraTech, it has held two or three seminars, our cement dealers association (Cement Stockists & Dealers Association of Bombay) also held a seminar and educated all its members. We have involved our manufacturers also in that. To understand e-way bill, we have held a seminar recently. As an association, we are also educating people to take advantage of all these benefits offered by the new tax system.
Unlike the unorganised sector that deals in cash, the stockists, the dealers, and for builders, there are no issues. Now they are getting used to it, hiring CAs, they are doing it.
Initially, for the unorganised sector it was slightly difficult because computers were to be installed, etc... The shops like the small retailers and lime depots who are selling sand and cement, they were facing issues.
For customers, for all building materials, whether it has impacted?
It has helped the contractors. Earlier they had VAT, service tax and others, it was complicated. Now, with GST coming in it is easier for them too. One bill and everything is clear.