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How India turns into “graveyard for foreign companies”

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In addition to the lack of transparency in market regulations, lower-than-expected market demand, inadequate infrastructure development, low labor skills, and poor business environment have all contributed to the exodus of foreign companies from India.

BEIJING, July 23 (Xinhua) — Recently, a string of prominent multinational corporations including electronics maker Foxconn Group and communications products supplier Wistron group, are withdrawing from the Indian market.

These companies are on a long list of multinational enterprises that were forced to exit, scale down, or consider pulling out of the Indian market over the years.

This trend brings sharp focus on the challenges foreign firms are facing in India, despite the country’s seemingly vast and promising consumer market. The perception of India as a potentially lucrative destination appears to conceal significant risks for foreign investors.

GRAVEYARD FOR FOREIGN COMPANIES

Despite having a large consumer population and a fast-growing economy, India is increasingly known as a hazardous “graveyard for foreign companies.” In the World Bank’s Global Doing Business report, India, which is expected by some to become the “new factory of the world,” was ranked as one of the worst countries in the world to start a business.

“Ease of doing business … there are very few countries we can compete with, obviously from the bottom. Probably, this is the worst country to do business in. That is a very frank statement I want to make,” Pankaj Mohindroo, chairman of the mobile industry body Indian Cellular & Electronics Association, once criticized the business climate in India.

Over the decades, wooed by the seemingly booming market, plenty of multinational companies have tried to jump on the bandwagon of exploring investment options in India, but few have proceeded any further.

In recent years, the Indian government has doubled down on blackmailing foreign companies with trumped-up charges. Google, Amazon, Nokia, and Samsung have all suffered billions of outrageous fines, while others including Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo, Intel, and Wistron have also hit snags in the Indian market.

According to data from the Indian government, from 2014 to 2021, nearly 2,800 foreign companies registered in India closed their operations, accounting for about one-sixth of the total number of multinational companies in the country.

Through means like imposing huge fines, freezing deposits, and confiscating assets, the Indian government has habitually snatched the business gains of foreign enterprises. “You can earn money here; you can spend money here, but you can never take what you have earned here back home,” some investors in the country have lamented.

HARSH BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT

While some of the outgoing companies have either cited poor competitive positions against domestic companies or their global business strategies beyond India as reasons to quit the Indian market, many foreign investors have had long-running conflicts with the Indian law enforcement and tax authorities.

It has become commonplace for foreign companies in India to face hefty fines for an already long and still growing list of violations that often ignite controversy in the business community.

According to PwC India’s former leader on infrastructure Manish Agarwal, although foreign direct investment is still coming to India, strategic investors have stayed away.

“India needs to ensure proper project preparation timelines for public-private projects, provide balanced risk-sharing guidelines, and contracts should be enforced properly,” Agarwal told the Financial Express.

In addition to the lack of transparency in market regulations, lower-than-expected market demand, inadequate infrastructure development, low labor skills, and poor business environment have all contributed to the exodus of foreign companies from India.

Frequent electricity outages and water supply disruptions have made operations in India extra costly.

Even worse, half of the South Asian nation’s youth are leaving school without the necessary skills to find decent jobs in the coming decades, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has warned.

“This scenario must change if India wishes to make the most out of the changed world economic model and offers companies a diversified supply chain for raw materials, a market that they can rely on, and also certain tax benefits that will encourage their commercial interests to reap long term benefits from trading within the boundaries of India,” India’s leading online legal services provider Vakilsearch said in a recent report

Source(s): Xinhua

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Over 2,000 beds expected to be brought to market in 2024

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Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal has revealed that an additional 2,700 tourist beds are expected to be added to the Maldives’ tourism sector this year. He made the statement during an exclusive interview with PSM News.

Speaking to PSM News, Minister Faisal highlighted the government’s efforts to attract investors to the islands of the Maldives. He said that investor forums are being planned in various countries, with the first forum anticipated to take place in July or August. He also said that the initiative will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Tourism, the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC), and the Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation (MITDC).

Additionally, Minister Faisal revealed plans for another investor forum in Thailand, with additional forums in other countries being considered. He stressed the importance of creating special arrangements to expand tourism into new areas and attract investors by reducing acquisition costs and offering other incentives.

Furthermore, Minister Faisal highlighted that 15 to 12 new resorts are expected to open this year. Based on current statistics, he said that it is estimated that 2,700 new beds will be operational by the end of the year.

The government is making efforts to expand tourism across different parts of the country, particularly in areas where tourism is currently absent. As part of the initiative, 19 islands across nine atolls have been opened for tourism development. Currently, the Maldives boasts 62,300 tourism beds, which includes 42,955 beds from 174 resorts, 14,461 beds from 860 guesthouses, and 1,198 beds from various tourist facilities.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Trade deficit widens, fish exports drop 41 percent

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The merchandize trade deficit widened from USD 669.3 million in the first quarter of 2023 to USD 768.5 million in the first quarter in 2024; reflecting stronger import and decline in exports.

However, compared to the final quarter last year, merchandize trade deficit in Q1-2024 registered a decline of 6%.

According to the Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA)’s Quarterly Economic Bulletin released on Tuesday, total merchandize exports – comprising of domestic exports and re-exports – register an annual decline of 5 percent in the first quarter this year, reaching a total of USD 131.3 million.

MMA reports that the fall in total merchandize exports was caused due to the steep decline in domestic exports – which has been observing decreases over the last two consecutive quarters as well.

Domestic exports – mainly comrpise of fish and fish products – plunged 41% in Q1-2024, registering a total of USD 31.5 million.

Central bank adds this decline was due to the staggering decline in the export earnings from frozen skipjack tuna, which observed a 64 percent drop – by USD 19.9 million – following declines over the last two consecutive quarters.

Moreover, this decline also in export earnings reflected both the 57 percent decline in the volume of such exports, and the 21 percent drop in skipjack tuna prices in the Bangkok frozen market during Q1-2024.

During the review quarter, frozen skipjack tuna in Bangkok market was priced at an average of USD 1.4 per kilogram – a decline from USD 1.8 per kilogram recorded in the corresponding quarter last year.

Besides this, declines were observed in the export earnings from fresh or chilled yellowfin tuna for the third consecutive quarter.

In the review quarter, export earnings from this commodity dropped by 57 percent (by USD 3.3 million) with the volume of such exports dropping by 55 percent, indicating a decline in unit prices.

Canned and pouched tuna exports saw the opposite trajectory, increasing by 5 percent during the review quarter despite a decline in the volume of such exports.

In tandem with these developments, volume and earnings from frozen yellowfin tuna exports increased, registering an 18 percent growth, a surge by USD 0.6 million), in the review quarter.

The fall in domestic exports was partially offset by the significant rise in merchandize re-exports during the first quarter this year.

In Q1-2024, merchandize re-exports rose by 18 percent, registering a total of USD 99.8 million reflecting the significant growth in jet fuel re-export – which had registered a 17 percent increment.

On the other hand, total merchandize imports observed an annual growth of 12 percent in the review quarter, registering a total of USD 899.8 million.

Major import categories saw modest growths, but was partly offset by a considerable decline in import expenditure on construction-related items; which dropped 9 percent during the Q1-2024.

Among the major import categories thar recorded growths during Q1-2024, the largest increase was observed for import expenditure on petroleum products, which rose by 25 percent – a surge by USD 41.9 million – mainly mirroring the spike in diesel imports, which recorded a susbtantial 27 percent jump (USD 34.8 million) in the review quarter.

Food items saw a growth of 14 percent (USD 23.9 million), while mechinery and mechanical appliances imports saw a 40 percent (USD 23.0 million) growth.

Import expenditure on electrical and electronic machinery and equipment registered a 43 percent growth (USD 19.0 million) during the first quarter.

Despite significant fisheries activities – from the country’s second largest economic sector – the relatively lower revenue receipts from the sector is an industry-wide concern, especially among the fishers who stand to receive the most significant brunt from adverse impacts.

Fishers’ woes do not end here as many face plight of long overdue payments owed to them by processed-fish manufacturers and canneries operating in the Maldives.

Source(s): sun.mv

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GoAir ordered to pay USD 3.6 million to MIRA

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The Civil Court has ordered India’s GoAir to pay $3.6 million to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) within a month.

The verdict was passed on June 03rd.

MIRA, in its lawsuit against GoAir, sought to claim USD 3,580,588 in outstanding airport service charge, departure tax, and airport development fee in accordance to the Air Taxes and Fees Act.

The Civil Court in its order, demanded the now bankrupt carrier to settle the amount within one month from the date of the verdict.

As per the Civil Court order, GoAir is liable to pay outstanding departure tax from October 28, 2018 up to its last operational date, and airport development fee from April 2022 to March 2023.

According to the Air Taxes and Fees Act, and its supporting regulations the following charges are levied as departure tax;

$30 per foreign passenger in economy class, $12 per local passenger

$60 per passenger in business class

$90 per passenger in first class

$120 per passenger in private jets

Airport development fee:

$25 per foreign passenger in economy class, $12 per local passenger

$60 per passenger in business class

$90 per passenger in first class

$120 per passenger in private jets

Besides failing to appear in court for trial despite chargesheet and multiple summoning issued to GoAir’s local address, the carrier did not file any defence motion as well. The Civil Court issued the order in absentia of the airline.

GoAir operated scheduled flights to Maldives before the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and resumed operations later the same year before it announced a cease of operations in March 2023.

Source(s): sun.mv

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