Adopt international credit rating: SDB | Daily Express Online

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Adopt international credit rating: SDB

Published on: Saturday January 22, 2022

By: Anthea Peter

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In a bid to revive Sabah’s economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sabah Development Bank (SDB) has suggested that the state adopt an international credit rating as it would enhance the credibility of the state and attract more foreign investors. Its CEO and Managing Director, Datuk Vincent Pung Yee Kiong (pictured), said an international rating would grant greater transparency and disclosure, allowing investors to more accurately assess Sabah’s credit. “It will open up more funding revenue, especially from foreign funding sources,” he said during his speech at the Sabah International Business and Economic Summit (SIBES) 2022 at the Sabah International Convention Center. (SICC).

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Additionally, to drive economic growth, Vincent said the SDB is moving from a finance-centric role to a more development-centric role by funding high-impact projects in infrastructure, agribusiness and the tourism. “We protect our portfolio, not based on normal classifications and application guidelines, but based on recovery potentials. “We are ready to retain, reschedule and restructure, if necessary, to ensure the recovery of each business. “SDB is already positioned to help drive change. Our Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Mohd Noor himself monitored and encouraged our repositioning,” he said. He added that the SDB was also expanding its roles in venture capital, project rehabilitation, co-op advisory and loan syndications. “We have also started working with SME Bank (Small Medium Enterprise Development Bank Malaysia Berhad) and Ambank to channel much needed financial resources to Sabah under guaranteed SME schemes. “The SDB, like all financial institutions, is facing lending pressure due to this pandemic, but we cannot respond with the same model as in ordinary times and apply normal processes and procedures in these abnormal circumstances and trying.

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“Indeed, we combed through all of our loans with a fine-toothed comb to look for sparks that would jump-start sustainability,” he said. Commenting on Sabah’s 3.8% economic growth, Vincent said the figures indicate there is still room for wealth creation and the full exploitation of Sabah’s resources. “The three core industries of our state – the oil and gas, agriculture and tourism sectors are all in my mind at nascent stages and still have plenty of room to grow and mature. “We haven’t explored the full potential of our sustainable forest plantations, minerals and carbon assets,” he said. Vincent, however, felt that although the state might be behind in some aspects, it would save Sabah from having to make major revisions or even costly mistakes – by imitating advanced countries. “Being behind for me is also a huge blessing. We can take notes on China’s leapfrogging experiences – not stifled by legacies or damaged technologies, environments and mindsets, but rather by embracing and reinventing and surfing on best practices and technologies.” We would be able to write our new technology and guidelines as we develop our infrastructure. “Take for example – power generation is already a dirty word and is becoming extremely difficult to finance. In recent years, there has been a shift and expectation towards green sustainable development within the global community. “Sabah, in this regard, is better placed to adapt and capitalize on proven sustainable green technology to unlock its potential and this avoids the steepest part of the learning curve,” he explained. Meanwhile, Vincent urged the government to step in and provide insurance to struggling industries and sectors. “We need a lot of action and direction from government and authorities to make the right noises and do the right thing. “Now the world is deciding to live with Covid-19 and we hope to see a return to normalcy very soon. It will take time, sacrifice and a calm, calm mind to develop the strategies needed to get out of this cauldron,” said he declared.
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