SingCham Weekly: Tax office access to professionals’ bank accounts
Monday, 5 March 2018
Bulog to increase rice supply, lower price
Bulog will supply a higher quantity of rice to the market than its regular monthly distribution in order to slash prices. President Joko Widodo gave the company the go-ahead to supply 400,000 tons of rice to the market this month. Bulog President Director Djarot Kusumayakti said the figure was much higher than its usual monthly supply which ranged between 120,000-150,000 tons. According to BPS, premium rice price increase by 20% to Rp10,382/kg from previous year, while cost of medium- and low-quality rice rose by 13% and 16% respectively to Rp10,251 and Rp9,987/kg respectively. Rice was the biggest contributor to inflation in the first two months of this year. Djarot added the bulk supply was expected to experience a further hike and Bulog would carry out market operations soon. Coordinating Economic Ministry Darmin Nasution said the agency has stockpiles of around 700,000 tons, excluding 281,000 tons sourced from imports.
Pelindo II to team up with Japanese firms in Patimban Port bidding
PT Pelindo II is set to team up with Japanese companies to take part in a bidding to operate Patimban Port. Memorandums of understanding (MoU) it signed with several Japanese companies including Mitsui Group two months ago. Pelindo II is in talks with a local private company that is expected to be included in the consortium in line with government’s order to widen private sector’s involvements in infrastructure projects. The company sought to own the majority shares, which totals 51% on the Indonesia side. The government will cover the land procurement cost of around Rp500bn.
United Tractors to expand commercial vehicle sales
PT United Tractors is set to expand its commercial vehicles sales amid a substantial rise in demand. United Tractors Marketing Director Loudy Irwanto Ellias said the company holds licenses for Japan’s UD trucks and Sweden’s Scania but cannot yet meet the market demand, which increase by 91% in 2017. The company aims to sell at least 1,000 Scania trucks and 1,500 UD trucks, an increase from 836 units and 700 units sold in 2017 respectively.
Waskita Precast booked new contract of Rp622.1bn
PT Waskita Beton Precast has booked new contract of Rp 622.1bn until Feb 2018. This accounted for 5.6% of its new contract target in 2018 of Rp11.52tr. The new contract including additional works for Semarang-Batang toll road, Krian-Legundi-Bunder toll road, Cibitung-Cilincing toll road, Terbanggi Besar-Kayu Agung toll road and Pejagan-Pemalang toll road. Waskita Precast Corporate Secretary Ratna Ningrum said the company has received turnkey payment from Becakayu toll road and non-turnkey payment from Solo-Kertosono toll road, Batang-Semarang toll road, Legundi-Bunder toll road and Bogor-Ciawi-Sukabumi toll road project. She added the company has also received payment from LRT Palembang.
Antam to boost capex by 133%
PT Aneka Tambang seeks to increase its capex by 133% annually to Rp2.23tr this year in a bid to support the construction of its processing facilities. The company intends to use 73% of its capex on the first development phase of a new ferronickel plan in East Halmahera, North Maluku. The facility is expected to have an annual capacity of 13,500 tons of nickel in ferronickel (TNi) once it is completed by end of 2018. Antam and its parent company PT Indonesia Asahan Aluminium (Inalum) will also start construction of a new smelter grade alumina refinery in Mempawah, West Kalimantan in 2H18.
Jakarta MRT construction on track for completion by end-2018
Progress on the first phase of the Jakarta Mass Rapid Transit reached 91% at the end of February, on schedule for completion in December. The Jakarta MRT was affected by the govt’s suspension of work on all elevated infrastructure construction projects last week, pending a safety audit after an accident at the construction site of an elevated toll road project in E Jakarta. City-owned MRT Jakarta, which is responsible for the development and eventual operation of the mass rapid transit system, said the government has cleared the project for work to resume. Construction of the underground line, which is current 96% complete, and the elevated line, which is 88% complete. MRT Jakarta will start test runs of the trains without passengers in December. The 15.7km transit system connecting Lebak Bulus in S Jakarta with the Hotel Indonesia is scheduled to start operations in March 2019. Jakarta plans to have a 112km integrated MRT system with more than 60 stations by 2025. The MRT will also be integrated with other transportation networks, such as the 42km first phase of a light rail transit system. Work on the 8.4km 2nd phase of the Jakarta MRT, which will connect the Hotel Indonesia with Kp Bandan in N Jakarta, will commence in December this year. It will have 8 stations. Funding for the Rp17tr ($1.2bn) first phase comes from the state budget, the Jakarta provincial budget and a Japanese govt loan. The 2nd phase will cost approximately Rp25tr.
Fourth highest number of Facebook users in the world
Social media users have increased in numbers this year. According to the annual digital report released by We Are Social and Hootsuite, social media growth this year reached 13% with a total of 3bn people as users. Facebook dominates the social media sphere. This year, active Facebook users make up 2/3 of the market with more than 2.17bn users. Indonesia has the 4th-highest number of Facebook users in the world. Up to January, there were 130m accounts on the social network, or 6% of the total global users. This makes Indonesia the SE Asian country with the most Facebook users. For the highest number of Facebook users, India holds the record with 250m, a 12% increase in the past year from 219m active users. Bekasi in W Java and Jakarta were reported as the cities with the largest numbers of active Facebook users. Bekasi ranks in 3rd place with 18m accounts, while Jakarta has 16m accounts. Bangkok has the largest number of active users with 22m accounts.
Biggest social media platform in the world
Indonesia is heaven for social media platform providers and for those who wish to earn from their virtual connections. In 2017, the country recorded 143.3m internet users, a 7.9% increase from the year before. About 90% of users needed the internet for chatting, 87% to access social media, 75% to use search engines, 73% to view images, and 70% to download videos, each person usually used several features. With a population of 260m and growing internet penetration, Indonesia is the 5th-biggest Twitter user and the 4th biggest Facebook user, after Brazil, the US and India. Indonesians are also believed to be among the world’s most active Instagrammers.
Bank Indonesia says rupiah is ‘overshot’
Bank Indonesia considers a suitable level for the rupiah against the United States dollar within the 13,200-13,300 range, a senior official said last Friday. “It was actually the right level when trading was at the rate of 13,200-13,300 per US dollar; so if it is now around 13,700, then it is a little overshot,” Bank Indonesia Senior Deputy Governor Mirza Adityaswara said. The last time the rupiah was within the 13,200-13,300 range was in the middle of January, but it started weakening in February to 13,500-13,700, before touching 13,800 – the lowest level since 2016 – on Thursday. This prompted the central bank to intervene. Mirza said Bank Indonesia did not deliberately allow the rupiah weaken, because since the currency continued to fall, the bank has been in the market to prop it up.
500 companies on MOM’s watch list for not hiring enough Sporeans
Some 500 companies have been placed on a government watch list for not doing enough to hire Singaporeans, double the 250 on the list this time last year, said Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say as he warned that such firms will be taken to task. Mr Lim said these companies have the “pre-conceived ideas” that local professionals, managers and executives (PMETs) are “either unable or unwilling to do the job”. “So they write them off without even considering them fairly … Their Employment Pass applications are subjected to additional scrutiny,” the minister added. Mr Lim said then that the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had placed 250 companies on the Fair Consideration Framework (FCF) watch list. The firms were from the information and communication technology, professional services, and financial & insurance activities industries. Under the FCF, which was implemented in August 2014, rules were put in place to ensure that firms consider locals for job openings. Being placed on the watch list means that the MOM will scrutinise these firms’ EP applications more closely.
S Pass salary criteria to be raised to S$2,400 over 2 years
To boost the quality of foreign manpower, the Government will raise the S Pass salary criteria to S$2,400 in phases over the next two years, and extend the maximum period of employment for work permit holders from non-traditional sources. To help employers to retain their experienced foreign workers and upgrade their workers’ skills to enjoy lower levies, additional pathways will also be rolled out for them, announced Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say. Changes to S Pass minimum qualifying salary will take place in two stages: From January next year, it will go up from S$2,200 to S$2,300. The second increase to S$2,400 will take place from January 2020. The move is part of measures to make the country’s “one-third foreign better”, said Mr Lim, noting that locals currently make up two-thirds of Singapore’s workforce at 2.3m, while foreigners form one-third or 1.1m.
More financial aid for needy students
The Ministry of Education (MOE) will be increasing subsidies, bursary amounts, and income ceilings for financial assistance to benefit more needy students from primary to pre-university levels, said Minister for Education Ng Chee Meng. The monthly gross household income ceiling for mainstream and Special Education students to qualify for the MOE Financial Assistance Scheme will be increased to $2,750, up from the current amount of $2,500, said Ng at his ministry’s Committee of Supply debate over Budget 2018. Some 6,000 more students will qualify for financial aid under the enhancements. The monthly per capita income ceiling will also be raised from the current $625 to $690. Students at the secondary school and pre-university levels will also get a full waiver of their school fees and standard miscellaneous fees under the scheme. Primary school students will also have their miscellaneous fees waived. Pre-university students under the financial assistance scheme will see their bursary quantum increased from $650 to $900.
Subsidies for foreign students to be removed or reduced
From next year, foreign students will no longer receive subsidies for most of the vocation-based master’s degrees and post-graduate diplomas offered by the autonomous universities, while the subsidies for permanent residents (PRs) will be reduced. Changes in subsidies — which will not affect Singaporeans — will generate S$25m in savings annually, adding that this will be channelled to support shorter, industry-relevant modular courses for Singaporeans and PRs at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Currently, the autonomous universities offer about 300 postgraduate courses, of which around one-third are subsidised by the Education Ministry (MOE). International students who receive subsidies will need to take up a 3-year service obligation, which requires them to work in Singapore-based companies upon graduation. Under the changes, the 50% subsidies currently given to international students for some courses will be removed. Meanwhile, subsidies for PRs will be cut from the current 65% to 50%. Locals currently receive 75% subsidies, and this will remain unchanged.
Tuesday, 6 March 2018
Government will issue Samurai bonds and Euro bonds in 2Q18
The government is planning to issue US$3.3-3.7bn of global bonds in 2Q18, in the form of Samurai bonds and Euro bonds. Samurai bonds will be JPY-denominated bonds issued in Japan, while the Euro bonds will be Euro denominated bonds issued in Europe. This forms c.31-34% of its total global bond issuance target for 2018 of US$10.5-10.8bn. Recently, the government also issued global sukuk amounting to US$1.25bn (5 year tenor) and US$1.75bn (10 year tenor).
Odd-even license plate set to ease congestion on Jakarta-Cikampek toll road
Ministry of Transportation is upbeat that odd-even license plate scheme in West Bekasi and East Bekasi toll gates will ease traffic congestion by 40% in Jakarta-Cikampek toll road. Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi said the government will set up a designated lane for public buses as an alternative means of transportation for passengers wanting to travel from Bekasi to Jakarta and vice-versa. Cargo trucks are also prohibited during certain hours. All of the three policies will be effective on 12 Mar 2018. He hopes the new policies will encourage public to use public transportation as people who live in Bekasi can park their car in Mega City Bekasi, Summarecon Mall Bekasi, Taman Galaxy Bekasi, Bekasi Trade Center, and Grand Dhika Bekasi with low parking fees. Budi estimated 2,000 people will use public transportation after the implementation of odd-even license plate policy.
Tax office granted elevated access to professionals’ bank accounts
The Indonesian tax office announced new methods to evaluate the gross income of independent professionals like artists, architects, doctors, lawyers and writers, as well as small businesses. Under a new regulation, which will come into effect on Feb. 13, the tax office will scour taxpayers’ bank accounts and previous tax returns and directly question businesses regarding the number of customers served and items sold, should the office suspect taxpayers of underreporting their taxes. The tax office will also crosscheck records with that of an individual’s or business’ clients or suppliers. While the regulation may seem stringent, it can provide clearer tax guidelines compared to previous practices, which were mostly based on arbitrary valuations by officials — often leading to inconsistent results and opportunities for corruption. “The new regulation aims to provide legal certainty in implementing the income tax law,” Robert Pakpahan, director general of taxation said. Under a 2007 tax law, individual taxpayers and businesses are obligated to keep and provide records of their assets, liabilities, capital, income and expenses, as well as sales and purchases, to the tax office. In addition, those below the threshold of Rp4.8bn ($336,000) are only required to provide records of their net income. A 2017 Ministry of Finance regulation also requires banks to report all accounts owned by businesses and individuals that have balances of over Rp200m.
Go-Jek considering IPO in two years
Go-Jek is considering an initial public offering, president Andre Soelistyo said, but details on timing and float size haven’t been decided yet. Andre met with Indonesia Stock Exchange chief executive to discuss the potential share sale, including a regulatory requirement to be profitable within two years of listing. Andre also raised the possibility of a dual-listing after Indonesia, but said a decision on where hasn’t been made. Bankers have listed Go-Jek’s potential IPO as a key float to track in Asia’s ride-hailing and mobile payments market, which has caught the attention of global investors. Go-Jek raised a higher than targeted $1.5bn in a fundraising round from several investors including Google, Temasek Holdings and Chinese technology giants ‘Tencent Holdings’ and ‘JD.com’. The latest round of investments valued Go-Jek at about $5bn. Go-Jek plans to expand its business beyond Indonesian borders by setting up operations in the Philippines in early 2018
Foreign investors allowed to bid for big mining concessions
The Indonesian government has allowed foreign investors to bid for mining concessions with a total area of more than 500ha, while smaller areas will be prioritized for regional administration-owned enterprises (BUMD) operating in their regions. The Energy & Mineral Resources Ministry recently issued new regulation through which it introduced detailed stipulations regarding the auction of expired mining areas previously operated by various mining permit holders in the country. Under the regulation, mining concessions with areas less than 500ha will be offered through a tender process to BUMD first, before being offered to national private companies, cooperatives and individuals as the least priority option.
Drivers reject plan to ban use of phone while driving
Drivers of app-based motorcycle taxis have expressed their opposition to a planned crackdown on the use of mobile phones on the road. Citing current law on traffic and land transportation, which stipulates that road users must drive with full concentration, the Jakarta Police said checking the map potentially diverted a driver’s concentration and could lead to accidents. “Checking the map is important for us, particularly when entering a new area,” said Hari Sulistyo, 35, a Go-Jek driver who lives in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta. “It’s not like we are playing a game, anyway” he added. He said drivers having to frequently stop only to check the map would exacerbate congestion in Jakarta, because tens of thousands of drivers relied on apps to help them navigate.
Govt will ‘weed out’ hatemongers & hoaxers
Chief Security Minister Wiranto said the government is committed to fighting hate speech and fake news, and candidates in upcoming elections should eschew hoaxes in their political campaigns. Wiranto told reporters he had requested that the National Police hunt down and prosecute individuals, groups or organizations responsible for disseminating hoax news stories. The minister also gave a warning to politicians regarding the content of their campaigns in June’s regional and next year’s legislative and presidential elections. “Campaigning is permitted, but you must not take advantage of hoaxes, hate speech or issues concerning religion and ethnicity,” Wiranto said, adding that such campaigns can only result in chaos. He said the government has a special inter-institutional team that relies on various new technologies to counter the spread of fake news in the country. Last week, the police arrested six people suspected of membership in the so-called Muslim Cyber Army, a group reportedly behind the recent hoax news offensive in Indonesia.
Sales charge for CPF Investment Scheme to be removed
From October next year, insurance and investment products on the Central Provident Fund Investment Scheme (CPFIS) will no longer entail a sales charge, which spurs financial advisers to sell products and earn more in commissions. The charge of up to 3% will be phased out gradually: The cap will be reduced to 1.5% from October, before being removed next October. The move aims to reduce the cost of investing and remove the incentive for financial advisers to push products to clients, said Second Manpower Minister Josephine Teo. Some unit trusts are already available via other platforms such as ‘Fundsupermart.com’ without a sales fee.
Grace Fu demanded apology from Sylvia Lim
Leader of the House Grace Fu has asked Workers’ Party chairman Sylvia Lim to withdraw her allegation that the Government had floated “test balloons” on the need to raise the Goods and Services Tax (GST), and apologise to the House before the end of Parliament’s sitting on Thursday. She made this demand in Parliament before the resumption of the Committee of Supply debate on Tuesday. Ms Lim said that the Government had floated “test balloons” before the Budget announcement, then possibly “backed down” on an immediate GST hike due to the negative public reaction. Ms Lim cited parliamentary privilege, to which Ms Fu pointed out that there was “no factual basis.”
Wednesday, 7 March 2018
RI braces for bigger energy subsidies
The government is set to give extra subsidies for PLN and Pertamina to support the former’s plan to maintain the current prices of electricity and fuels until 2019. The government and the House of Representatives previously came to terms to set the electricity subsidy at Rp47.6tr in the 2018 state budget, with another Rp5tr in additional subsidy carried over from the previous year. The fund will be used to subsidize PLN’s 23 million customers under the 450-VA category as well as 6.5 million customers under 900-VA power capacity.
PLN commitment to realize electrification up to 99.9%
PLN is committed to meet its electrification ratio target of up to 99.9% in 2019. The target is higher than previously projected at 97.5%. Until the end of 2017, the realization of electrification ratio reached 95.35% or exceeded the target of 92.75%. A total of 2,500 villages are now completely unutilized by electricity, while more than 10,000 other villages are in rudimentary electrical condition.
Energy Ministry scraps hundreds of troubling regulations to boost investment
Indonesia has revoked 186 regulations in the energy and mineral resources sectors that were considered troubling, as the country seeks to improve the investment climate, while improving the ease of doing business, a minister said. “This is important, as was instructed by the president; we have to be business- and investment-friendly to increase employment and boost economic growth,” Energy and Mineral Resources Minister, Ignasius Jonan said. He explained that 90 general regulations and another 96 related to permits, certification requirements and government recommendation prerequisites for certain projects in the energy and mineral resources sectors have been revoked. Indonesia seeks to lure $50bn in investment in the energy and mineral sectors this year alone. The regulation regulations were applied by different directorate generals in the ministry, including oil and gas, minerals and coal, and new and renewable energy.
Thursday, 8 March 2018
Govt to target beneficial ownership to curb money laundering & terrorism funding practices
The government has issued Presidential Decree No.13/2018 on beneficial ownership which enables authorities to identify the beneficial owners of firms and cooperatives, among other institution, to curb money laundering and terrorism funding practices. A legal basis for the tax authority to obtain additional data in its pursuit of recalcitrant taxpayers who benefited from their ownerships of corporations. It also obliges the firms to update their beneficial owners’ data annually to the authorities. The decree will change the landscape, corporations will become more transparent so that it becomes clear who the beneficiaries from the corporations. In addition to possessing the power to control the institutions, beneficial owners are also identified as those who own more than 25% of the corporations’ capital or receive more than 25% of the corporations’ profit.
Ciputra Development: Marketing sales of Rp1.01t in Jan-Feb 18.
Ciputra Development recorded Rp1.01t of marketing sales in Jan-Feb 18, up 18% yoy. Ciputra said the growth was supported by several project launches, such as the Vertu apartments in Surabaya. Ciputra targets marketing sales of Rp8.5t for 2018, the same target as in 2017.
Hanson International: Harvest Time postpones IPO to 3Q18.
Harvest Time – a subsidiary of Hanson International is postponing its IPO as the company is entangled in land disputes. Harvest time is sued by Equator Majapura Raya, Equator Kartia and Equator Satrialand Development for compensation amounting to Rp1.16t. The firm plans to issue 1.86b new shares, or 15.0% of its paid-up capital, to the public in its IPO.
Kalbe Farma building a factory for Rp200b in Myanmar.
Kalbe Farma is investing Rp200b to build an over-the-counter medicine factory in Myanmar. This is because Myanmar has a big population that requires OTC medicines. Kalbe Farma will form a joint venture company with a local partner to construct the factory.
Shortage of salt
Several of Indonesia’s noodle, biscuit and snack makers are facing shortages of quality salt as they have been unable to import the ingredient and local supplies are insufficient, an industry association said. “We received reports several industries will stop production next week because of shortages of salt,” said Adhi S. Lukman, chairman of the Indonesia Food and Beverage Association (Gapmmi), referring to several instant noodle producers, without naming the specific companies affected by the shortages. The government has not approved salt imports for food processors for 2018 despite a quota of 460,000 metric tons of salt imports issued by the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy this year, Adhi said. Food companies require salt with a maximum water content of 0.5% and sodium chloride above 97%, but not all domestic suppliers can meet those levels, Adhi said. State salt producer Garam is “very small” and lacks the right quality stock, particularly in the wet season, he said.
Indonesia hands over 1MDB-linked luxury yacht to FBI
A luxury yacht linked to allegations that $4.5bn was looted from Malaysia’s state investment fund 1MDB is being handed over to the FBI, which is probing the scandal. US and Indonesian authorities last week searched the Cayman Island-registered Equanimity, reportedly worth some $250m, which was moored off the Indonesian tourist island of Bali. “(The handing over) is in the process of being done,” national police senior detective Daniel Silitonga said. The US Justice Department alleges in civil lawsuits that $4.5bn was stolen from 1MDB — set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak — in a campaign of fraud and money-laundering. Najib and the fund deny any wrongdoing. The suits list $1.7bn in assets allegedly bought with the stolen funds, which US officials are seeking to recover. Those assets include the 300ft (90m) yacht which US officials said was purchased by Malaysian financier known as Jho Low, an unofficial adviser to 1MDB.
Sylvia Lim refuses to apologise for GST comment in parliament
Workers’ Party (WP) chairman Sylvia Lim stated that she will not apologise over comments on the Government’s plan to raise the goods and services tax (GST). This prompted Leader of the House Grace Fu to remark that she was “deeply disappointed” with Ms Lim’s “deplorable” conduct, and the “low standards” set by her and the opposition party. Ms Lim said,”…I was doing my duty as a MP in the constitutional role that we were elected into… for that, I make no apology.” Ms Fu said that Ms Lim’s conduct had fallen “well short” of the standard of integrity and honour expected of all members of the House. Ms Lim quoted PM Lee’s comments over their Oxley Road family home. PM Lee had said then that if MPs believe that something is wrong, it was their job to pursue the facts and make allegations in their own name and ask for answers.
Friday, 9 March 2018
Adhi Karya book new contracts of Rp1.32t in Jan-Feb 18.
Adhi Karya booked new contracts worth Rp1.32t in Jan-Feb 18 – Rp850b in Jan 18 and Rp470b in Feb 18. The firm targets to book new contracts of Rp22.8t-23.75t in 2018, up 25% yoy.
Antam aims production and sales volume to grow significantly.
Aneka Tambang targets production and sales volume for its businesses to grow significantly. It targets gold production of 2,201kg from the Pongkor and Cibaliung mining plants with sales volume up 81% yoy to 24,000kg. The company targets ferronickel production volume to increase 19% yoy to 26,000 tonnes.
Modernland Realty to work on Mandiri City project.
Modernland Realty is partnering WSKT’s subsidiary, Waskita Karya Realty, to work on the 350ha Mandiri City project in Bekasi, which will be developed under a toll-road city concept. Their joint venture firm, Waskita Modern Realty, will acquire 350ha of land in Bekasi from MDLN for Rp1.1t. The project will comprise landed houses, apartments, commercial, education facilities and a hospital.
PP Properti net profit grew 22%
PT PP Properti booked net profit of Rp444bn (+22% yoy) in 2017, compared to same period last year of Rp366bn. Marketing sales grew by 21% to Rp3.01tr from Rp2.4tr last year. The company targeted marketing sales and net profit will reach Rp3.8tr and Rp528bn in 2018.
Uber selling SE Asia operations to Grab
Uber is selling parts of its SE Asia operations to local rival Grab, getting a piece of the action in the process. Grab is on the cusp of buying Uber’s business in some Southeast Asia markets in a deal that would give the California-based smartphone-summoned ride service a stake in its competitor. The size of the stake could be around 20% or more than 30%, according to the reports, which cited unnamed sources. The US ride share titan faces fierce competition in Asia, not only from Singapore-based Grab but from Ola in India, and Chinese rival Didi Chuxing. While ridesharing giant Uber is the largest firm of its kind with a presence in more than 600 cities, the US-based company has been rocked by scandals and is facing fierce competition from rivals in Asia and Europe.
Rules on company ownership to tackle money laundering
Indonesia issued rules requiring corporations to reveal details of beneficial ownership to the government, as part of efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorism financing in Southeast Asia’s largest economy. This comes at a time when Indonesia is trying to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that is fighting money laundering globally. The country was put on an FATF list of jurisdictions with weak measures to combat money laundering and terrorism financing in 2012. While it was taken off the list in 2015 due to progress in improving regulations, it is yet to become an FATF member.