Piyush Goyal urges industry to 'prepay' MSMEs for their services to boost employment

The Commerce Minister also highlighted that a free trade agreement with the UAE is nearing conclusion, and negotiations for the proposed pact with Australia are at an advanced stage.
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Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal, urged industry bodies to prepay micro, small and medium enterprises for their services to boost employment and growth within the sector.

The minister said this at a meeting with heads of top industry associations and businesses.

The MSME sector has been hit hard in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. While some MSMEs showed resilience during the first two waves by pivoting and innovating, several others were shut down or reported losses. According to a survey by the Consortium of Indian Associations (CIA), out of 81,000 SMEs in India, 73 percent reported to not being able to make any profit during FY21.

He also said that the growth in services exports, in spite of travel and tourism restrictions, was truly "commendable" and "we must aim to reach $250 billion services exports." He said that Indian professionals had demonstrated great success in working from home and therefore the nation had succeeded in meeting every single one of its international commitments, even during the pandemic, earning it the title of being a trusted partner to the world.

He also asked the industry to lend guidance for transformational exports growth beyond $400 billion.

Furthermore, Goyal highlighted a free trade agreement with the UAE is nearing to conclusion, and negotiations for the proposed pact with Australia are at an advanced stage. He said the government was striving to conclude several early harvest agreements so that their benefits could reach the industry soon.

"FTA with UAE was nearing conclusion, negotiations were at an advanced stage with Australia, and discussions with Israel are ongoing," the commerce ministry statement quoted the minister as saying.

He also asked industry leaders to be proactive in giving inputs to the government for FTA negotiations.

"Industry should become more demanding," he concluded.

(With inputs added from the PTI)

Edited by Anju Narayanan