MCA has vide Companies (Removal of Names of Companies from the Register of Companies) Amendment Rules, 2023, notification dated 17th April 2023 effective from 1st May, 2023, has introduced fast track closure of Companies via removal of name from Register.
Application for removal of name on accelerated Corporate Exit shall be taken up by the center specifically set up for this purpose. Certain procedural requirement for filing of application is also reduced. Accordingly, new Form STK 2, STK 6 and STK 7 are introduced.
The Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology on 06 April 2023 has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2023.
Vide this amendment, the definition of “online game” has been inserted which means that “game offered on the Internet and accessible by a user through a computer resource or an intermediary” and “online gaming intermediary” means “any intermediary that enables the users of its computer resource to access one or more online games”.
As per the said amendment, if an online game can cause harm, the intermediaries shall inform the users of its computer resource not to host/ display/ upload/ modify/ transmit publish or store such game. The due diligence requirements as specified under Part B of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 shall apply to online gaming intermediaries.
The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2023 assent of the Hon’ble President of India on 11 April 2023 to become the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2023 (“Amendment Act”). While the Amendment Act received Presidential assent on 11 April 2023, the provisions will come into force as and when the Central Government notifies the date of enforcement in the Official Gazette. The key amendments proposed by the Amendment Act are as follows:
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has published two consultation papers with proposals to enhance safeguards for prospecting and marketing of financial products. MAS’ proposals seek to enhance existing safeguards and introduce new measures to strengthen market conduct. particularly with the resumption of roadshows and the increasing use of social media and other digital media for prospecting and marketing activities.
The proposals regarding (i) prospecting activities at public places and via telemarketing and (ii) prospecting activities via digital applications and social media are separately set out in each of the two consultation papers. For physical prospecting at public places, the proposals include: making existing safeguards such as the disclosure of representatives’ identities and the financial institutions they represent mandatory, limiting the conduct of prospecting activities to commercial premises; requiring financial institutions to provide customers with additional time to consider whether to make a purchase, and limiting the use of gift offers which may influence decision-making. For digital marketing, the proposals include: strengthening controls over online advertisements to avoid misleading content, and tightening practices when appointing third party service providers to generate leads online.
It is proposed that amendments will be made to the Guidelines on Standards of Conduct for Marketing and Distribution Activities (“Guidelines”) issued by the MAS on 23 December 2016 to include new practices relating to prospecting activities at public places and that new Notices will be issued by MAS to legislate these enhanced safeguards following feedback on the consultations. The proposed safeguards for digital marketing are set out in draft Guidelines on Standards of Conduct for Digital Prospecting and Marketing Activities set out in the consultation paper. It is proposed that the new Notices and revised Guidelines for prospecting activities at public places and via telemarketing and the new Guideline on Standards of Conduct for Digital Prospecting and Marketing Activities will be effected six to nine months from their issuance date.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the People’s Bank of China (PBC) have established the China-Singapore Green Finance Taskforce (GFTF). The aim is to deepen bilateral cooperation in green and transition finance between Singapore and China. Moreover, the GFTF will facilitate greater public-private sector collaboration. The aim is to work together to meet Asia’s needs as it transitions to a low carbon future. The GFTF’s inaugural meeting was hosted on 21 April in Chongqing. The parties discussed joint initiatives aimed at scaling up green and transition financing flows between Singapore, China and the region.
• Taxonomies and Definitions. MAS and PBC will work together under the International Platform on Sustainable Finance (IPSF). The aim is to achieve interoperability between the Singapore and China taxonomies. They will collaborate subsequently to enhance the use of the IPSF’s Common Ground Taxonomy. In addition, there is a drive to deepen understanding of transition activities defined by China and Singapore.
• Products and Instruments. Singapore Exchange and China International Capital Corporation will establish a workstream to strengthen sustainability bond market connectivity between China and Singapore. This includes the issuances of and mutual access to green and transition bond products in China and Singapore.
• Technology. Metaverse Green Exchange and Beijing Green Exchange will establish a workstream that leverages technology to facilitate sustainable finance adoption. This includes piloting of digital green bonds with carbon credits.
The GFTF is co-chaired by MAS’ Assistant Managing Director (Development and International) and Chief Sustainability Officer, Gillian Tan, and Chair of the China Green Finance Committee, Dr Ma Jun. Members comprise senior representatives and sustainable finance experts from financial institutions and green FinTech companies from Singapore and China.
Mr Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, and Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Deputy Chairman, today announced the launch of MAS’ Finance for Net Zero (FiNZ) Action Plan at the opening of the Sustainable and Green Finance Institute of the National University of Singapore. The FiNZ Action Plan sets out MAS’ strategies to mobilise financing to catalyse Asia’s net zero transition and decarbonisation activities in Singapore and the region. It expands the scope of MAS’ Green Finance Action Plan launched in 2019 to include transition finance. Transition finance refers to investment, lending, insurance, and related services to progressively decarbonise areas such as power generation, buildings, and transportation.
The FiNZ Action Plan sets out MAS’ strategies to mobilise financing to catalyse Asia’s net zero transition and decarbonisation activities in Singapore and the region. It expands the scope of MAS’ Green Finance Action Plan launched in 2019 to include transition finance. Transition finance refers to investment, lending, insurance, and related services to progressively decarbonise areas such as power generation, buildings, and transportation.
The FiNZ Action Plan aims to achieve the following four strategic outcomes:
Data, Definitions & Disclosures. MAS will continue to promote consistent, comparable, and reliable climate data and disclosures to guide decision making by financial market participants, and safeguard against greenwashing risks.
o MAS has been working with the industry to co-create a code of conduct, which will require ESG ratings and data product providers to disclose how transition risks are factored into their products. A public consultation to gather wider feedback will be conducted in the second half of the year.
o MAS will work with relevant counterparts and stakeholders to enhance interoperability of taxonomies across jurisdictions, to catalyse cross-border green and transition financing flows.
o MAS has been working with the Singapore Exchange and other government agencies to set out a roadmap for key financial institutions (FIs) and listed companies to make International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB)-aligned disclosures on a risk-proportionate basis. MAS will partner with relevant bodies to build up companies’ capabilities in sustainability reporting.
· Climate Resilient Financial Sector. MAS will continue to engage FIs to foster sound environmental risk management practices and deepen climate scenario analysis and stress testing to identify climate-related financial risks. MAS will incorporate evolving international best practices in the supervision of FIs’ transition planning.
· Credible Transition Plans. To support FIs’ adoption of science-based transition plans, MAS will engage international partners such as the International Energy Agency to support the development of credible regional sectoral decarbonization pathways. FIs can reference these pathways when they set emissions reduction targets, and when they engage with their clients on initiatives to decarbonize their businesses.
· Green & Transition Solutions & Markets. MAS will promote innovative and credible green and transition financing solutions and markets to support decarbonization efforts and climate risk mitigation.
o MAS will expand the scope of its sustainable bond and loan grant schemes to include transition bonds and loans, with safeguards in place to mitigate the risk of “transition-washing” and ensure alignment with internationally recognised taxonomy and transition finance principles. To promote transparency in the sustainable debt market, MAS will incentivise the early adoption of entity-level sustainability disclosures by issuers or borrowers. MAS has set aside S$15 million over the next five years till end 2028 for the enhanced grant schemes. More details on these changes will be released shortly.MAS will extend the Insurance-Linked Securities (ILS) Grant Scheme till end 2025 to support the continued growth of catastrophe bonds and additional climate risk financing instruments such as sidecars and collateralised reinsurance arrangements. This will enable additional financing for protection against disaster risks to be raised from the capital markets. The S$15 million grant will defray the cost of issuing catastrophe bonds and the expanded suite of insurance-linked securities that focus on Asia risks.
o Building on past efforts, MAS will scale blended finance, in partnership with the private sector and philanthropic foundations, to mobilise financing for the decarbonisation of carbon-intensive sectors (e.g., managed phase-out of coal-fired power plants). In addition, we will support the development of carbon services and carbon credits markets in Singapore, to channel financing towards carbon abatement and removal projects in Asia.
A Protocol amending the Agreement between the Republic of Singapore and the Federative Republic of Brazil for the Elimination of Double Taxation with Respect to Taxes on Income and the Prevention of Tax Evasion and Avoidance (DTA) and its Protocol (May 2018 Protocol) was signed on 17 April 2023 between the Government of the Republic of Singapore and the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil.
The signing took place in Brazil between Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil, Mr Mauro Vieira. This Protocol corrects minor translation discrepancies in the Portuguese text, specifically on Article 11 (Interest) of the DTA, and Paragraph 7 of the May 2018 Protocol.
On 6 April, 2023, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) published the Sixth edition of the e-tax guide (the “Guide”) on GST: Clarification on “Directly in Connection With” and “Directly Benefit”.
This e-Tax guide provides guidance on the interpretation and application of the two expressions, “directly in connection with” and “directly benefit” used in certain provisions on the zero-rating of services. “Directly in connection with” is used for services which have direct effect on goods or land. “Directly benefit” is used in the context of person(s) who derive direct benefits from the services.