SABIC, a global leader in diverse chemicals, lately organized and hosted a virtual industry round table titled 'Recovery from the Pandemic: Challenges Faced by the MSMEs and the Role of Chemical Industry'. The round table includes chemical industry MSME leaders and apex export council members who participated in a wide-ranging discussion focused on the challenges, opportunities, and collaboration required to help in the recovery of MSMEs within the chemical segment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has considerably impacted all industries, with MSMEs being among the most affected. The chemical industry has been particularly affected by demand, production and employment. Nevertheless, the industry, especially the MSMEs, has shown remarkable resilience and is beginning to show signs of revival with assist from the government and industry collaboration.
At the round table, Janardhanan Ramanujalu, Vice President & Regional Head, SABIC South Asia, ANZ stated, "We believe it is essential for us to support MSMEs - our fellow partners within the chemical industry through collaboration among all stakeholders. This collaborative approach will bring MSMEs within the chemical sector back on the growth track, strengthen our industry further, and contribute to revival and growth."
Mr Rajendra Gogri, CMD, Aarti Industries &
Co-Chairman, FICCI National Chemicals Committee, stated, "The MSME sector is a significant contributor in the areas of economic and social development. The pandemic had a devastating impact on the sector with disruptions across labor, materials, and supply chains. I believe relevant stakeholders need to provide the necessary impetus for future growth and come together to encourage demand, investments and revive employment growth in the sector."
Mr Arvind Mehta, CMD, Welset Plast Extrusion & Chairman - Governing Council, All India Plastics Manufacturers' Association (AIPMA), stated, "The Indian plastics industry, dominated by MSMEs, make up around 95 percent of all processing units. The sector currently faces several challenges like demand destruction due to the pandemic, erosion of working capital due to high raw material prices, and the lack of financing options. The sector is a major contributor to economic growth and creates employment on a large scale. Concrete steps to make the sector more competitive to cater to domestic as well as export demand are the need of the hour."
In conjunction with the round table, SABIC also commissioned a report, researched and published by ICRA, India's premier credit rating and research agency. The report, titled 'Building Resilience in MSMEs to Strengthen the Indian Chemical Industry’, analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on the segment and the subsequent challenges and opportunities. It further brings forward the key trends and measures taken by the government and the industry to get MSMEs back on the growth track.
“The MSME sector accounts for approximately 25 to 30 percent of the Indian chemical sector and 85 to 90 percent of the polymer processing segment of the Indian plastic industry. The MSMEs also employee lakhs of people, which when combined with the multi-year growth forecast for the chemical and plastic industry, they are likely to play a crucial role in leveraging the growth potential for these sectors,” stated, Mr Ravichandran, Executive Vice President and Deputy Chief Rating Officer, ICRA Limited. He further underlined the requirement for larger companies in the sector to support the MSMEs by helping them to integrate better into the supply value chain system.
The virtual industry round table also consisted of apex export councils like CHEMEXCIL, PLEXCONCIL, and AIRIA who shared their insights beneficial for the MSMEs within the sector.