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Panel Discussion on Economic Slowdown Re-Thinking Your Finance

Panel Discussion

“Economic Slowdown? Re-Thinking Your Finance!”


NIQR Head Quarters organised a Panel Discussion by Leading Industrialists on the topic “Economic Slowdown? Re-Thinking Your Finance!” on 21st December 2019 at Hotel Taj Club House, Chennai. The participants were CEOs and CFOs from MSMEs numbering 70.

The topic for this discussion was mooted by Dr. Sameer Mehta in his closing remarks in the last Panel Discussion conducted by NIQR in November.

NIQR organised this event as a free one for all the MSMEs who are facing some difficult times now, as a gesture for their support to NIQR over the last three decades.

Dr. V. Swaminathan, National Senior Vice President welcomed the gathering and Mr. C. V. Gowri Sankar, National Secretary introduced the panelists.

The following were the panelists:

Mr. S Rajasekaran, MD, Infant Engineers (P) Ltd & National President, NIQR

Mr. K Manikandan, VP, Ashok Leyland Ltd & National Vice President, NIQR

Mr. Amit Jain, President & Regional Business Head, South- Corporate Banking, Yes Bank

CA Dr. Gopal Krishna Raju, Partner of M/s K. GOPAL RAO & CO

Mr. Hariharan Ramamurthy, MD, Srimukha Group & National VP, LAGHU UDYOG BHARATI

Mr. R. Pardhasaradhi, Chief Risk Officer of Northern Arc Capital

Mr. Ravi Kiran, Regional Product Manager, Electronica Finance Limited

Dr. E. Bhaskaran, DGM(Schemes), TANSIDCO MSME Department, Government of Tamil Nadu

Dr. Vinod Surana, Managing Partner & CEO, Surana & Surana International Attorneys and Vice Chairman, AIMO was the Facilitator.

Dr. Surana initiated the proceedings making the audience feel at home with his moderation to make the event a grand success. With his starting remarks, he livened up the proceedings by giving a lot of statistics about the present economic scenario and detailing some of the initiatives from the government available for industries.

Dr. Bhaskaran gave an insight to the many financial schemes from the Government and added NIQR is doing a great service to MSMEs for giving a platform for sharing information; prompting lot of queries whether NIQR can organise an exclusive one day session for the schemes.

Mr. Pardhasaradhi was candid in his observation about the difficulties in funding MSMEs but added they do lot of funding for long term needs/capital expenditure.

Mr. Amit Jain while recognising that there is real slowdown in economy, gave lot of hope (amidst huge current NPAs) that Government is pushing PSBs to lend to MSMEs but advised MSMEs to be liquid all the time by focusing on cash-flow continuously  and prepare for worst times.

Mr. Hariharan Ramamurthy clearly put the current situation as one of turbulence and disruption; he cautioned against overtrading and gave a piece of advice – instead of looking for more funds, learn to live with minimum inventory and avoid diversion of short term funds to long term needs; his idea of Koyambedu market cash model may be difficult but worth pursuing as it is not impossible.

Mr. Rajasekaran dwelled on the cyclical nature of economic slowdowns witnessed over a large period and hoped that there will soon be recovery; with an advice – be open to bankers which will help in the long term.

Dr. Raju indicated that 45% of current GDP is contributed by MSMEs and analysed the benefits in the GST regime over pre-GST era. With his vibrant voice and clear expression, his excellent inputs for the benefit of MSMEs made many participants to interact; there was a request for ONE-MINUTE-VIDEOs on the above which can be shared to all through social media; and many felt NIQR will be helping the MSMEs much by organising a one day session on FINANCIAL LITERACY.

Mr. Manikandan focused on the cyclical nature of economy influenced by sales of Commercial vehicles. He was very specific that the economic slowdown affects both OEMs and vendors equally; he was very clear that daily P&L will become the in-thing for everybody not only in today’s scenario but at all times.

Mr. Ravi Kiran proposed all MSMEs to focus on short term plans of quarterly to annual instead of 5 & 10 year long term plans – advocated to maintain calm during downturn to come out successfully quickly.

The enthusiasm shown by the participants throughout the session was good and it was at its high ebb during the Q&A session; it was very lively with many focusing on quick short term relief in difficult situations and the panelists responding that the MSMEs should get educated about available Government schemes and should use the funds received only for the intended purpose.

Mr. C. V. Gowri Sankar proposed the vote of thanks.

The enthusiasm of the participants flowed to the lunch time also as the panelists were kept busy by many of the participants.