April 12, 2022
The world has been witnessing a turbulent time unprecedented since the end of the Spanish flue in 1920. This has shattered the core of all the economic models as no one was built with the idea that the whole world would be at point zero at a single point in time. This has pushed many successful businesses to the edge of bankruptcy and the race for growth has turned into to sprint of survival.
The Governments of the world are working day and night to provide stimulus packages to the businesses to breathe but no one can survive unless there is a hope to start again. Many businesses would not be able to get any sort of package to come to life again as most of the incentives are to reschedule the loans, cut taxes and pay of salaries of staff but the real challenge would be to fund the operations once the epidemic is over.
There are a lot of strategies that could help the businesses to sail through this crisis because it is not the time to rest but to plan a commercial response to preserve top-line revenues and reinforce the ability to supply. The ideas given below are not an exclusive set of thoughts but a must-see list to make the business shine again. INVESTMENT The post-pandemic world will be greatly different than what we know before the end of 2019. A number of new opportunities will show a mushroom growth; therefore, it is the right time to work on your investment strategy, do your SWOT analysis and your planner must be final before the sun rises with the hope of smoke coming out of factories. A short list of businesses to look for boom and ban.
The current real estate package announced by the Government is a kind of amnesty scheme to put the undocumented money into the Business without any further cost. It is also immune to taxation and investigation by the department. The 90% tax reduction offered for investment in NAYA PAKISTAN HOUSING SCHEME and reduced-rate loans for housing makes it very lucrative.
If your businesses are financed by a Lender, it is right time to re-negotiate and save as much cost as you could in addition to delaying the fixed payment commitments. The State Bank of Pakistan has already issued a number of circulars to reduce the finance cost e.g.
1. Restructuring of existing loans to defer the principal amount for one year and will also not affect the credit history.
2. Finance cost has been reduced to green filed project to 7%.
3. Interest cost has been reduced by 4.75% i.e. from 9% to13.75%.
4. Low-cost financing for the payment of salaries and wages @ 3% for the active taxpayer and 5% for non-active taxpayers. The process has been simplified and banks have been instructed to process the applications on an urgent basis. This can cover up to three (03) months of the salary budget.
5. Loans that are rescheduled within 180 days would not be categorized as defaults.
6. There is a chance of further reduction in KIBOR, therefore, fixed-rate financing arrangements should be converted to variables, especially for short-term loans.
However, if you do not believe in an interest-based financing system and want to ward off your business from “RIBBA” you could opt for a private equity partner to share the business and you would also get a working hand for collective wisdom. You will be free from the fixed commitment of interest payment and could pay the dividend to the partner on the basis of results. Although it is difficult in Pakistan as most of the businesses are family-owned enterprises and a closed-knitted family feels uncomfortable sharing the ownership and business insights with others but you had to ensure liquidity.
OUT SOURCING THE NON- CORE BUSINESS
There are a number of success stories for outsourcing the non- core business activities to save/ optimize cost of doing businesses.
The banks and multinational have been doing it since years e.g. security, call centers, deliveries, accounting, tax advisory, internal audit, feasibility studies, market surveys, agreement vetting etc. You should re-assess the business operations and list the operations that could be outsourced without compromising the business operations, confidentiality and quality of services/goods. It needs a careful thinking and setting of responsibilities and
communication channels with service provider.