Thursday 18 Apr 2024

Now, Mapusa council plans to levy GST on street vendors

THE GOAN NETWORK | APRIL 03, 2024, 12:41 AM IST

MAPUSA

The Mapusa Municipal Council (MMC) finds itself at a crossroads as it grapples with the absence of bidders for the collection of Sopo (fees) in the bustling Mapusa municipal market.

Despite multiple attempts to attract contractors through tender bids, the council has been met with silence, prompting a re-evaluation of its revenue collection strategy.

Originally setting the bid amount at Rs 2.6 crore for the 2023-24 fiscal year, MMC extended invitations repeatedly, progressively reducing the bid amount to Rs 1.67 crore.

However, these efforts failed to elicit any interest from potential contractors, leaving the council with no choice but to resort to in-house Sopo collection with the assistance of council staff.

The repercussions of this decision have been felt keenly, as revenue generated internally fell short of amounts previously contributed by contractors. Additionally, the municipal council faced staffing challenges, necessitating the deployment of specialised personnel for Sopo collection within the market premises.

Undeterred by setbacks, MMC sought to remedy the situation by inviting bids for the 2024-25 fiscal year, only to encounter the same lack of response from prospective contractors.

A senior taxation officer within MMC attributed this disinterest to the exclusion of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) component from the bid amount.

“It is therefore proposed to permit collection of GST from the vendors concerned for giving scope for bids from the eligible contractors,” the taxation official said in an internal note.

Taking cues from neighbouring municipal councils, namely Ponda and Bicholim, which successfully collect GST from vendors, MMC is considering a similar approach to invigorate contractor interest in Sopo collection bids.

According to MMC guidelines, Sopo collected from street vendors in the market is subject to an 18 percent GST levy, along with a 2 percent Tax Collected at Source (TCS).

Acknowledging the necessity of action, a senior municipal officer emphasised the inevitability of implementing GST collection as a means to break the current impasse.

The proposal will be presented before the council for deliberation and eventual ratification, following which it will be implemented accordingly.

As the Mapusa Municipal Council navigates these challenges, stakeholders await the outcome of council discussions, which could potentially reshape revenue collection strategies in the vibrant market district.


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