The recently held Business Standard Smart Business
panel discussion on ‘Future of MSME Exports’ organized in association with Federation of Indian Exports Organizations (FIEO), Delhi aimed to discuss the challenges posed to the Indian Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector and especially exporters by slow global demand and weak trade.
Even though the government has announced higher credit guarantee limit for MSMEs in 2017 apart from leveraging a plethora of various other schemes for such businesses, the sector has been heavily affected by the demonetization driving employment figures going down and reducing business.
Ajay Sahai, Director General, FIEO said the government should move fast on a consolidated policy for the MSME sector that aims for rapid growth of the sector since it is so crucial to employment in the country. Also, he said services exports tend to be overlooked in the discourse on MSMEs and need to be leveraged.“ Our services exports are almost treble our merchandise exports from the MSME sector“, he said. On this note, Latin America is set to be an upcoming area for Indian outbound trade, he added.
Partha Saikia, Professor at Fortune Institute of International Business said MSME enterprises
need to be better marketed and invest in branding to draw in more business. “While areas like health and tourism have been marketed well by Indian companies, other sectors need to tap into this model to unlock their potential”.
T S Ahluwalia, Director, Dharmvir Exports PVT Ltd, said the Goods and Service Tax regime should help exporters in the sector by cutting down on intermediate taxes. He also pointed out that no extent of government support for cheap credit to MSMEs can help alleviate the problem until banks step up lending and the issue of collateral is addressed. “Getting a loan still depends on the upfront submission of collateral, something that not many new companies can manage”, he said.