KOTA KINABALU: Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd (BPMB) has launched its RM1.5bil Maritime Fund 2.0, which the government aims to use to modernise the country’s maritime sector.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who relaunched the fund here on Tuesday (Sept 17), said the fund was part of the government’s continuous efforts to support and boost the sector with the expiry of the fund in December last year.
As it was a strategic sector, Lim said the financing rate subsidies of the RM1.5bil to the industry could be used for the shipbuilding and repairing industry.
“Project financing will also be considered, ” he said when launching the maritime fund in the presence of BPMB president and chief executive officer Arshad Mohamed Ismail and local maritime businesses.
The fund is open for shipping and shipyard companies, as well as marine oil and gas-related activities, where successful applicants would enjoy financing rate subsidy of 1.75% subsidy.
Borrowers can use the funds to part finance acquisition of all types of vessels or aircraft, the purchase of land, the construction of shipyard, hangar or related infrastructure.
Lim said that the Maritime Fund was crucial to support a sustainable growth in an important industry.
“It is highly necessary for Malaysia’s local shipping industry to be afforded the opportunity to develop and expand in order to be competitive and relevant notionally and globally, ” Lim said.
He assured that the government would also continue to extend more support for industry by designating the shipbuilding and repairing industry as a strategic sector, while providing federal funds for dredging of port harbours.
In 2019 budget, he said some 153ha of land Pulau Indah was designated for development as a free zone, where they expect the port to further grow in terms of cargo generation.
Observing the United States and China trade war, Lim said that there was a positive effect to Malaysia due to trade and investment diversion.
He said in 2019, approved foreign investment across all sectors rose 97.2% to RM49.5bil from RM25.1bil last year as global investors seek safe havens to protect their supply chain.
Malaysia’s geographical location combined with its skilled workforce and rules-based governance has made it attractive to investors, he said.
However, Lim said the prolonged trade war would not benefit anyone and hoped to see an end to the dispute.