A director of one of Goa’s largest floating casinos has called for the government to provide substantial financial assistance to local tourism and entertainment operators, including a three year tax holiday and a six-month waiver on interest charges, to alleviate the challenges brought by COVID-19.
Goa’s casinos, including its six floating casinos on the Mandovi River, have been closed since 15 March with no plans for them to reopen anytime soon according to comments made recently by Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant.
The situation has led this week to Shrinivas Naik, director of Casino Pride Goa, to pen a letter to the government outlining a raft of measures he says the tourism industry desperately needs to navigate the financial challenges of COVID-19.
According to Indian gaming website GLaws, those measures should include the government paying all contributions for all employees into their Employees’ Provident Fund each month and a three-year income tax holiday.
“In order to reduce overall cost of operation and increase funds for disposal in the hands of the industry, the government should provide tax holidays … for at least three years beginning from FY2020-21,” Naik said.
He also urged the government to “allow the industry to pay minimum sustenance allowance to its employees during lockdown period and post lockdown period of six months,” and to require any employees who have taken a salary during lockdown to remain with their employer for at least six months until April 2021.
Other requests include a waiver on interest payments on business loans, no charge on electricity for six months and a similar waiver on payments to internet service providers.