Monday, August 22, 2011

Green Loan

Kuala Lumpur:Commercial banks, which are currently shying away from lending to green companies, may have to set aside an allocation to finance green technology projects.

Malaysian Green Technology Corp (MGTC) chief executive officer Dr Nazily Mohd Noor said this was one of the suggestions made during a discussion at the Green Technology and Climate Change Council, chaired by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, two weeks ago.

"We voiced out this to the Prime Minister about the difficulties companies are facing to obtain loans pertaining to green projects and he (Prime Minister) immediately instructed the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to speak to Bank Negara to look into the matter and to also provide quotas for banks to adhere to when giving out green loans.

"Green technology is a government agenda," he told Business Times in an interview recently.
So far, only RM330 million loans have been extended to green technology companies, a far cry from the targeted RM1.5 billion in loans to be disbursed to the green technology sector by next year.

Nazily said the financing quota is a must because at present, banks are just refusing to approve any loans related to green technology for reasons unknown.

"The worst part is when they reject these loans, they never give any reason ... so, we don't know why the loans were rejected in the first place. Hence, we don't know which areas to improve on," he added.

Nazily said the MGTC is also willing to partner with green companies when securing loans in the future, if it would make a difference in the approval of such loans.

He said so far, banks have disbursed a total of RM330 million loans to 21 companies, including 13 companies they had approved last year.

The idea is to give out close to RM1.5 billion in loans by next year to green technology projects, a figure which even the MGTC is skeptical about.

Nazily said the MGTC is now considering setting aside RM500 million mainly for biomass projects due to the feed-in tariff, which is expected to kick-start by next month.

"This year, they only gave loans to eight companies but my KPI is 20 companies and I am not sure if I can meet that because the risk appetite for green loans is very low among commercial banks," he said.

Nazily also suggested that the government set aside some seed funding for green technology projects, just like what it has done with the biotechnology and information technology industry.

"This way, instead of going to the banks, we can provide some seed funding to these companies directly," he added.

Read more: Green loans

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