MSME- Recoveries redefined; Working Capital Assistance by Professionals!

MSME units are facing working capital issues because on one side they are facing challenges of timely credit from formal banking channels and paying the comparatively higher interest rates and on the other, they have to extend interest-free credit to their customers as well as delayed recovery which is ultimately triggering sickness in the MSME sector.

MSME Development Act (the Act) has incorporated necessary provisions for ensuring prompt and smooth flow of funds to MSMEs and measures also to ensure timely payment to the MSME sector.

As per provisions of the Act, the buyer is duty-bound to release payment on or before the agreed date or within a period of 45 days, whichever is earlier from the day of acceptance or deemed acceptance of supply of goods and services done by MSME. Further, if the payment to MSMEs is delayed beyond the agreed period of forty-five days, the buyer is liable to pay compound interest with monthly interest at the rate of 3 times the bank rate notified by the Reserve bank of India, for the delayed period.

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If the buyer fails to make the payment within the stipulated deadline, registered MSMEs can take up the issue directly with the Micro and Small Enterprises Facilitation Council of the state (created by respective state government’s) in which their unit is situated for recovery of dues along with interest on delayed payments.

MSE Facilitation Council acts as conciliator or arbitrator and is duty-bound to solve the issue within 90 days. MSEFC is gradually gaining prominence vis-a-vis recovery suit. Where the conciliation initiated is not successful and stands terminated without any settlement between the parties, the Council shall either itself take up the dispute for arbitration or refer it to any Institution or centre providing alternate dispute resolution services for such arbitration and the provisions of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 shall then apply to the dispute as if the arbitration was in pursuance of an arbitration agreement referred to In sub-section (i) of section 7 of that Act.

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Every reference made under this section shall be decided within a period of ninety days from the date of making such reference.”

 An appeal (by any person other than supplier) against the award, decree or other orders of MSEFC or Centre or institution referred by the MSEFC can be entertained by any court only after deposition of 75% of the amount in terms of the decree, award to other order. Provided that pending disposal of the application to set aside the decree, award or order, the court shall order that such percentage of the amount deposited shall be paid to the supplier, as it considers reasonable under the circumstances of the case subject to such conditions as it deems necessary to impose. These provision has been validated by higher courts including Supreme Court.

In the years to come, MSEFC constituted by States will gain momentum and will become a decisive factor.

It is a great opportunity for CA in practice as they can play a vital role in hand holding the MSME sector to overcome their working capital issues and render professional services in helping them in approaching the MSE Facilitation Council for recovery of their overdue along with interest as specified in the Act. This will ultimately result in the growth of cliental, MSME sector and Nation.