Singapore Government considering need for measures to help struggling marine and offshore sector: Iswaran

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said the Government may be looking into whether to help the country's marine and offshore engineering sector.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran said the Government may be looking into whether to help the country's marine and offshore engineering sector.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Government is looking into the need for measures to help the struggling marine and offshore engineering sector, said Minister of Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran on Monday (Oct 31).

"The Government is studying, in consultation with the marine and offshore engineering industry and financial institutions, the need for measures for the sector," Mr Iswaran said at the launch of Singapore's first research & development centre for the marine and offshore engineering sector.

He did not elaborate what these measures might be, but noted that companies can tap on measures that are already in place, such as the SME Working Capital Loan that was introduced as part of the Budget this year to help small and medium-sized businesses deal with cash flow concerns and financing needs.

"However, while the Government will endeavour to render assistance where appropriate, it cannot be a panacea," added Mr Iswaran.

"It is critical that companies and financial institutions take appropriate measures in their own long-term interests - to ensure that good businesses survive, respond to the industry's challenges and build capabilities for future growth."

Mr Iswaran also stressed that the marine and offshore engineering sector, which is grappling with a prolonged downturn, remains an important part of the economy. The Government is investing S$107 million to help develop Tcoms, Singapore's first national research and development centre for the industry.

Several companies in Singapore, a hub for shipbuilding and offshore support firms, have been hit by the almost two-year rout in oil prices and a slowing economy. Among those, oil services firm Swiber Holdings went into judicial management this month.

The weak growth outlook has prompted analyst expectations of more government stimulus for the economy.