Western Marine builds high-tech offshore patrol vessel for Kenya

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 14 Aug 2017, 21:58:36

Western Marine builds high-tech offshore patrol vessel for Kenya

Investment on upward trend: Muhith
Our Correspondent

CHITTAGONG, Aug 14: Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said the country has witnessed an upward trend in investment since the government has successfully tackled the political instability created by the BNP-Jamaat nexus in 2013.

Foreign investment has also surged in the country, he added.

Blaming the BNP-Jamaat for stagnation in investment, he said this nexus had enforced hartals and resorted to anarchy and even killed people in arson attacks.

"The country has overcome those days and we are now seeing an upward trend in investment. The foreigners have also increased their investment," said the minister.

The finance minister was speaking as the chief guest at the yard delivery ceremony of a specialised offshore patrol vessel (OPV) MV Doria made by the leading shipbuilder, Western Marine Shipyard (WMS), on Sunday. The event was held at the shipyard on the bank of the River Karnaphuli in Patiya.

This is the first-ever state-of-the-art vessel built by any Bangladeshi shipbuilder, which is ready for export to Kenya in Africa. The fisheries ministry of Kenya is procuring the vessel through Danish company JGH Marine A/S.

The export value of the vessel is $18.5 million (Tk 1.50 billion). The WMS started building the vessel in August 2014 and it is expected to leave Chittagong Port for Kenya by the end of this month.

The highest export value of a cargo vessel built in Bangladesh was around Tk 800 million, the organisers said.

Expressing the government's all-out support to the shipbuilding industry, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the government has been offering cash incentives to the shipbuilders alongside providing bonded warehouse facilities for the industry.

He also said that there is no alternative to political stability to improve the investment climate in the country.

When asked why a huge amount of money is lying idle in the scheduled banks without being invested, he said it is not true that idle money is not being invested.

 "It's a big issue. You cannot draw any conclusion outright on the issue. I have made it clear in my budget speech," he added.

Chairman of the Western Marine Shipyard Saiful Islam said the global shipbuilding industry has turned restless in the recent years due to global recession and 30 per cent of shipbuilding industry across the globe has gone bankrupt.

On the other hand, the Western Marine Shipyard continues to move forward and has already built and exported many ships, he said, adding that this labour-intensive, capital-intensive and heavy high-tech industry needs long-term policy support from the government.

Managing Director of the Western Marine Shipyard Engineer Sakhawat Hossain said the shipbuilders of Bangladesh have fetched $150 million by exporting 40 ships over the last five years. Of those, the Western Marine has alone made 25 ships.

He also said the shipbuilding industry, however, is facing some challenges, such as huge infrastructural investment. If the banks come forward with a 20-year term loan at three to four per cent interest rate, the industry will definitely turn around.

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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