By Joseph Alfred - ACCA SG Head of Policy and Technical
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam delivers the Budget Statement for the Financial Year (FY) 2013 Budget
Budget 2013, which was unveiled on 25 February, sets out the strategies and directions for building a better Singapore to achieve quality growth and an inclusive society. For these purposes, the government will tighten foreign worker policies and support business restructuring through a $5.9 billion Quality Growth Programme. This includes a $3.6 billion Wage Credit Scheme to encourage businesses to share productivity gains with their workers through higher wages.
To build a fair and inclusive society, social safety nets will be reinforced and social mobility will be promoted. Workfare will be enhanced and taxes will be made more progressive. To help households cope with the cost of living, the government will make $1.7 billion in household transfers this year.
More details of Budget 2013 measures can be found in the Budget in Brief and Key Budget Initiatives at the MOF website .
ACRA issues Audit Practice Bulletin No. 1 of 2013: Quality Control for Firms that Perform Audits and Reviews of Financial Statements, and Other Assurance and Related Services Engagements (Part 4)
Part 4 of the series of Audit Practice Bulletins on Singapore Standard on Quality Control SSQC 1 Quality Control for Firms that Perform Audits and Reviews of Financial Statements, and Other Assurance and Related Services Engagements was issued by the Accounting and Regulatory Authority (ACRA) in February. It discusses ACRA's inspection observations on the fifth and sixth element of SSQC 1 - Engagement Performance and Monitoring respectively. The Bulletin can be downloaded from ACRA's website .
Singapore Accountancy Commission Bill, Second Reading
The second reading of the Singapore Accountancy Commission Bill took place on 14 January. The Singapore Accountancy Commission Bill aims to establish the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) and a framework for the growth and development of the accountancy sector and its related fields. It will also provide for the registration of chartered accountants in Singapore. The setting up of the commission will put the accountancy profession on the same footing as the legal, medical, architectural and engineering professions, all of which are overseen by statutory bodies. The Bill can be downloaded from the Parliament of Singapore website
First Global Survey of Audit Inspection Findings
The International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) of which ACRA is a member, has issued the first global survey of audit inspection findings, which identifies the level of inspection activity and common inspection findings related to audits of listed public companies around the world. Please visit ACRA's website for more details.
New Chief Executive for Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)
The Minister for Finance has appointed Mr Kenneth Yap Yew Choh as the new Chief Executive (CE) of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) with effect from 1 February 2013. He will also be appointed as a board member to the ACRA Board in ex-officio capacity, with effect from 1 February 2013 to 31 March 2015. Mr Yap is currently the Divisional Director of the Legal Services Division with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Ms Juthika Ramanathan will relinquish her appointments as the current CE and board member of ACRA with effect from 1 February 2013. She has been holding the portfolio since 1 April 2004. Miss Ramanathan, who is a Legal Service Officer, will return to the Legal Service to assume a key appointment. Please visit ACRA's website for more details.
Appointment of ACRA Board Members with effect from 1 April 2013
The Minister for Finance has appointed the following new board members to the ACRA Board for tenures of two years, with effect from 1 April 2013:
- Mr Ho Meng Kit, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation
- Mr Lee Chuan Teck, Assistant Managing Director, Capital Markets Group
Monetary Authority of Singapore
- Professor Tan Cheng Han, Professor, Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore.
MAS issues Consultation Papers on Corporate Governance (CG)
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) issued a consultation paper on 4 January 2013 to seek comments on the draft CG Regulations and the Guidelines for Insurers. The consultation paper summarizes the key provisions in the draft CG Regulations. The Guidelines were last revised in 2010, and is being updated following revisions made to the Code for Corporate Governance in May 2012. The consultation period ended on 4 February 2013. More details are available from MAS website
Singapore Accountancy Commission Bill, First Reading
The Singapore Accountancy Commission Bill was tabled in Parliament in November.
It aims to establish the Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC), and a framework for the growth and development of the accountancy sector and its related fields. It will also provide for the registration of chartered accountants in Singapore. The setting up of the commission will put the accountancy profession on the same footing as the legal, medical, architectural and engineering professions, all of which are overseen by statutory bodies. The Bill can be downloaded from the Parliament of Singapore website
Responses to feedback from Public Consultation on ACRA XBRL Revamp 2012
The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA) invited members of the public to give feedback on proposed enhancements to ACRA's online filing system for corporate financial statements which leverages on XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language). The public consultation exercise was held from 14 May 2012 to 11 June 2012.
A total of 15 written submissions were received from various stakeholders, including government agencies, professional bodies, accounting firms and individual companies. Feedback received from four outreach seminars conducted by ACRA during this period was also taken into consideration. Please visit ACRA's website for a summary of the feedback received and ACRA's responses to the feedback.
ACRA launches e-Newsletter
ACRAConnect is ACRA's e-newsletter for professional stakeholders. The e-newsletter keeps ACRA's stakeholders updated on new initiatives and upcoming events. Through ACRAConnect, ACRA also shares insights into key policies and legislative changes. The e-newsletter will also feature case studies for the purpose of sharing best practices. The inaugural issue of ACRAConnect(Oct 2012) is available for download from ACRA's website .
Agreements for the avoidance of Double Taxation
Singapore and Poland signed an enhanced Agreement for the avoidance of double taxation (DTA) in November 2012. The enhanced DTA provides lower withholding taxes for interest, dividend and royalty incomes, as well as more liberal permanent establishment rules compared to the existing DTA. It also incorporates the internationally agreed Standard for exchange of information for tax purposes. These changes will serve to enhance trade and investment flows between the two countries.
Singapore and Bermuda signed a Tax Information Exchange Agreement in October. The Agreement will allow Singapore and Bermuda to exchange information for tax purposes in accordance with the internationally agreed Standard.
The full texts for the above are available at IRAS's website . It will enter into force after ratification by both countries/jurisdictions.