POLICY POINTERS 
 
 
 
ECB rules relaxed    

The finance ministry on 5.5.99 further liberalised the guidelines for external commercial borrowings, with emphasis on infrastructure financing and prepayment of outstanding.    

Corporate with foreign exchange earnings have been permitted to raise ECBs upto $ 200 million as against $ 100 million earlier. However, the minimum average maturity has been retained at three years for borrowings upto $ 20 million and five years for loans above that level.    

Prepayments are now allowed within the permitted period for all ECBs with residual maturity of up to 1 year. Alternatively' a corporate could avail of a one-time concession during the life of the loan    

SSIs permitted to pay excise on a monthly basis    

Government issued a notification on May 27 allowing payment of excise duty by small-scale industries on a monthly basis, commencing from June, 1999.    

The measure is expected to make matters convenient for SSI units. Till now, central excise duty is determined and paid at the time of removal of products from the factory premises resulting in procedural hassles.    

The duty assessed for each consignment cleared is to be simply recorded in production and clearance register and aggregated at the month end.    

The aggregate duty payable on clearances made during the calendar month will be required to be paid by the middle of the succeeding month either through current or modvat account.