NEW DELHI: PricewaterhouseCoopers’s (PwC) new chairman Sanjeev Krishan has said that mid-corporates and NBFCs are facing stress along with hospitality, aviation and other general consumer businesses, which are awaiting demand pick up.
“For various reasons, the big have continued to become bigger, not just because of M&As but due to a series of events — demonetisation, GST and others. Even the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code has enabled further consolidation and the pandemic has in some ways exacerbated the consolidation process. One of the key challenges has been the narrowing of the mid – corporates space; simply put an original equipment manufacturer can possibly survive the crisis, but long-term sustenance would require the entire supply chain and the distribution network to remain strong. They are also very significant job creators, and critical from a societal perspective,” he told TOI.
While several business leaders have proposed providing support to businesses to come out of the crisis, the government has refrained from offering tax concessions, although the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has opened a window to restructure loans.
Krishan also suggested that FM Nirmala Sitharaman should focus on healthcare, sanitation, recapitalisation of some institutions and investment and innovation apart from boosting infrastructure investments to pump prime the economy out of the slowdown.
“Disinvestment will be a big theme and some of the lacunae, particularly on the indirect tax side, once plugged can create avenues for higher revenues. The final thing is how do we enhance the tax base. Despite what has been done, tax collection is still from a narrow set of taxpayers. We need to create an environment for more people to come into the tax net and plugging of leaks using data analytics,” he said.
Although the government has been seeking to widen the tax base, it has made little headway on the direct taxes front but is hoping that GST will help it bring more people in the net.
Asked about his thrust areas, the former head of the deals practice at the consulting firm said that he would strive to build trust among stakeholders and seek to ensure that PwC is agile and nimble in adjusting to the evolving eco-system. Krishan said that businesses, which are looking to go digital, are seeking to keep pace with risks, including those associated with cyberspace, regulation and frauds, and the firms were seeking to partner clients in their transformation journey.