One strategy of Indonesian President Joko Widodo to generate more state revenues in order to enhance investments in social and economic development of Indonesia is by improving the country’s tax collection system.
As the middle class as well as number of companies that are active in Indonesia has risen rapidly in recent years, it is disappointing that tax collection targets are rarely met in Southeast Asia’s largest economy: tax compliance is low, while corruption among civil servants (tax collectors) remains a structural problem.
Indonesia’s current tax-to-GDP ratio lies in the range of 12 and 13 percent; a low figure compared to developed countries (that generally have +25 percentage point ratios) and emerging markets.
For example, Indonesia’s tax-to-GDP ratio is much lower than the ratio in Thailand (17.0 percent), Malaysia (15.5 percent), Philippines (14.4 percent), Singapore (14.2 percent), and Vietnam (13.8 percent). Such low tax-to-GDP ratios signal that governments’ financial management is inadequate (and – often the case – plagued by corruption).
The Indonesia-Singapore Bilateral Investment Treaty Comes into Effect
Through the upgraded DTAA, the tax rate on branch profits was reduced from 15 to 10 percent, and the tax rate on royalties for copyrighted works of literature, arts, and film, and eight percent for the use of industrial, scientific, or commercial equipment was lowered from 15 to 10 percent.
Will South-east Asia’s tech giants turn to SPACs to boost post-pandemic growth?
– SPACs have become a hot-button topic in global finance
– The vehicle is widely used to help tech start-ups go public
– Both Singapore’s and Indonesia’s exchanges are set to allow SPACs
– Several South-east Asian tech unicorns may use SPACs to list publicly
South-east Asia is seeing a wave of interest in special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs, with various major tech players considering them as a means to fast-track public listings. In parallel to this, several exchanges in the region are moving to allow SPAC listings, with a view to boosting post-coronavirus growth.
SPACs are shell companies set up by investors and then listed on a given stock exchange. Their sole function is to acquire a private company, enabling it to go public without having to go through a traditional initial public offering (IPO).
A SPAC does nothing beyond its essential function – it neither produces nor sells anything, and a SPAC’s only assets are the funds raised from its own IPO.
Crucially, people who buy into a SPAC do not know what its eventual acquisition target or targets will be. This is why SPACs are often referred to as “blank cheque companies”: they give the founders a free rein to back their choice of private company. A key feature of SPACs is that they are often headed by big-name business executives or fund managers, who trade on past successes to inspire trust in investors.
While they are far from a novel phenomenon, SPACs have become a hot button topic in recent times: SPAC initial offerings quadrupled last year, with the vehicles raising a record $80bn.
Merging with a SPAC enables a company to go public and raise capital more quickly and painlessly than with a traditional IPO, circumventing some of the volatility that Covid-19 unleashed on global markets. At the same time, they function rather like venture capital, helping investors to buy into high-growth start-ups on the ground floor.
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