KUALA LUMPUR: The Export-Import Bank of Malaysia Bhd (EXIM Bank) will step up its efforts to provide the support needed by companies to survive and thrive throughout next year's stormy economic climate, where the global economy is expected to return to its slowing growth rate.
President/chief executive officer Arshad Ismail said the bank is finalising its 2023 strategic business plan, which takes into account the bleak economic prospects, adding that the measures to be taken will be targeted towards potentially affected sectors.
"The economic outlook in 2023 remains challenging and development financial institutions need to play their counter-cyclical role, so this is what we will be paying attention to," he told Bernama.
Despite the challenging outlook, Arshad is optimistic that some Malaysian companies will flourish during the storm, depending on the industry they are in.
He noted that even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies were able to survive their cashflow crunch challenges and thrive.
"Many of our clients have come out of the difficulties they were in during the pandemic.
"Many of us expected 2021 to be the year of recovery, but alas, we all know what happened last year, so it was a matter of staying with our clients and weathering the storm," he said.
Among other things, Arshad said the pandemic has taught the world just how fragile the supply chain is and the importance of becoming self-sufficient.
"Of course, we cannot be 100 per cent self-sufficient, but there is a need to pay attention to specific components of the supply chain and work on becoming a little more self-sufficient.
"That's the general thinking of how we need to deal with the somewhat fragile supply chain, and we had unfortunately found out the hard way during the pandemic,'' he added.
To strengthen the nation's supply chain, Arshad disclosed that EXIM Bank will be introducing a lending programme to support vendors in the supply chain.
"We want to boost vendors' capacity in specific supply chains. For example, there are many vendors that provide products and services to Petronas, the national oil company.
"The idea is to support these vendors so that over time, they will be financially stronger and able to operate independently without relying on Petronas," he said.
He added that EXIM Bank's support to them will not only be in terms of financing, but also includes guiding them to become export-ready companies sooner rather than later.