Friday, June 1, 2012
1. In conjunction with the upcoming June school holidays, the Vehicle Entry Permit (VEP) operating hours will end earlier at 12 noon on weekdays, from 26 May 2012 to 24 June 2012.
2. Drivers of foreign-registered cars and motorcycles need not pay any VEP fees for the day if they drive into Singapore after 12 noon and leave by 2.00 am the following day on weekdays during this period. VEP fees remain non-chargeable on Saturdays, Sundays and Singapore Public Holidays. This is part of the on-going initiatives to attract foreign visitors to Singapore, especially during the Singapore school holidays.
3. Currently, only NETS CashCards (for Singapore-registered vehicles) and Autopass cards (for foreign vehicles) are accepted at the Woodlands and Tuas Checkpoints.
About the VEP scheme
4. The VEP Scheme was introduced to regulate the entry of foreign-registered cars and motorcycles into Singapore. Under the scheme, motorists of foreign-registered cars and motorcycles are required to pay the daily VEP fees for each day the vehicles are kept or used in Singapore. A vehicle's entry/exit record is recorded when the Autopass card is inserted into the card reader installed at the immigration booths, and payment is deducted electronically from the card at the point of departure from Singapore. To minimize inconvenience, motorists are advised to ensure there is sufficient value in their Autopass card when driving through the checkpoints.
5. For normal weekdays outside Singapore's June and December school holidays, VEP fees are charged from 2am to 5pm daily, except on Saturdays, Sundays and Singapore Public Holidays. During this period, there would be no VEP fee charged if the vehicles drive into Singapore after 5pm on a weekday and leave before 2am the following day. VEP fees are not chargeable on Saturdays, Sundays and Singapore Public Holidays.
6. In addition, under the 10 VEP-free days scheme, drivers of foreign-registered cars and motorcycles can drive into Singapore for a maximum of 10 days per calendar year without having to pay the VEP fees.
7. The daily VEP fees for the subsequent days are chargeable if drivers of foreign-registered cars and motorcycles continue to use or drive their vehicles in Singapore during VEP operating hours, after they have fully utilised the 10 VEP-free days within the same calendar year. The existing VEP fee is S$20 a day for cars and S$4 a day for motorcycles. The normal toll charges for foreign-registered vehicles will also apply.
8. For more information, motorists can visit the LTA website at www.lta.gov.sg 'Motoring' 'Driving Into and Out of Singapore' 'Vehicle Entry Permit Fees and Tolls' or call 1800-CALL LTA (1800-2255 582) if in Singapore, or call 65-62255 582 if calling from other countries.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Now LG has introduced their 3D TV.
I want to excite my senses with LG Cinema 3D Smart TV because it is flicker-free, battery-free, has brighter screen and many more cool features.
For more info please visit: http://www.lg.com/my/tv-audio-video/televisions/televisions.jsp
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The Republic must swiftly improve its personal-tax regime to make high-calibre individuals want to settle down here
By OOI BOON JIN
YOU have probably read about the recommendations of Singapore's Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) and its vision of transforming Singapore into a leading global city.
As Singapore stands at the crossroads of reinventing itself, the upcoming Budget next Monday promises to be an exciting indicator of the government's plans to lay the groundwork for this exciting future.
The very recognition of their capabilities suggests that these people are likely to possess highly sought-after skills, know-how or other abilities. They are therefore likely to be highly sought after not only by Singapore, but many other countries.
At the income levels that these individuals typically command, an uncompetitive personal tax rate may be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back. This is especially so when personal taxes directly hit the pockets of the people concerned.
Let us measure Singapore against rival Hong Kong. It is interesting to note that our highest personal tax rate of 20 per cent is dismally short of closing the tax gap with Hong Kong, which has a flat rate of 15 per cent.
Based on several scenarios and assumptions, KPMG's projections of the variance between Singapore and Hong Kong suggest that the difference is very significant for the highest-earning taxpayers.
For example, a married expatriate individual earning US$2 million per year would pay taxes of US$300,000 in Hong Kong. In Singapore, his tax bill would be about US$383,000. The difference of US$83,000 is about four percentage points.
The major assumptions used in the KPMG computations include the following:
> Non-working spouse and two dependent children with its attendant reliefs and allowances
> No pension/social security contributions or benefits-in-kind
> No special tax deductions such as home loan interest.
Doing more for individuals
Singapore has come a long way in trying to bridge the tax gap for such individuals - for example, abolishing estate duty in 2008, as Hong Kong did a year before. This removed the stumbling block which discouraged both foreigners and Singaporeans from locating their assets here.
Other measures that the government could therefore also consider include:
Fine-tuning the time apportionment concession under the Not Ordinarily Resident (NOR) scheme to be on par with Hong Kong's time apportionment basis, which does not have a five-year 'life' or a 90 overseas- business-day requirement.
Allowing a tax deduction for mortgage interest incurred by homeowners. Unlike their counterparts in Hong Kong and Taiwan, homeowners in Singapore do not get a tax benefit for the housing loans that they repay every year.
Continuously working to create a more competitive personal-tax environment is one tenet of Singapore's strategy for becoming an Asia Hub. However, it may also be timely to review and improve Singapore's personal-tax regime against that of Hong Kong. This is perhaps most critical in attracting the talents we want to have come and live here.
The writer is executive director and head of international executive services at KPMG in Singapore. The views expressed herein are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of KPMG in Singapore
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Friday, February 12, 2010
Dow 5,000 in 2010?
In my last column I predicted a “dead cat bounce” in the stock market and a possible Dow plunge to 5,000 this year. Obviously, many readers mocked my prediction.
But understanding the dead cat bounce is vital, especially in today's market.
Simply put, a dead cat bounce looks like Diagram 1 below:
The market crashes, rebounds, and runs out of steam, then crashes again…unfortunately, and possibly, to a lower low.
When professional investors observe a dead cat forming, many will begin to sell. If their selling leads to a panic, the stock market goes even lower.
Putting today’s numbers to the dead cat diagram gives this topic more meaning.
In 2002, the Dow hit a low of 7,286.
In 2007, the Dow hit a high of 14,164
In 2009 the Dow fell and stopped at 6,547.
Dow 6,547 is where the market stopped falling and the dead cat bounce began. At 6,547 the market was oversold and buyers came rushing back in, looking for bargains. The Dow headed back up, and a bear market rally began.
On February 5, 2010 the Dow closed at 10,012.
On February 12, 2010 the Dow closed at 10,099.
What Does This Mean?
So the question is, “What do these numbers mean to me?” The answer to that question depends upon you. If you are a bullish person, you will be optimistic, reassured by these numbers, and looking forward to the Dow breaking 14,000 soon.
If you are bearish, you will be waiting for the dead cat to finally die and for a double dip recession to begin.
One of the theorists (and writers) I follow is Richard Russell, a wise sage who is in tune with markets and the madness of crowds. He has been in the business for about 50 years, so he has the wisdom and perspective of time. Lately, he has been writing about the ‘50% Rule’ of Dow Theory. I thought I would pass it on to you because it may assist you in seeing the future of the economy, even if --like me -- you do not trade in stocks.
The following is my interpretation of the ‘50% Rule’ using real numbers.
In 2002 the low of the Dow was 7,286.
In 2007 the Dow hit a high of 14,164.
The ‘50% Rule ‘number is 10,725…the halfway point between 7,286 and 14,164.
In 2007, when the market headed down and broke 10,725, professional traders who follow the Dow Theory ‘50% Rule’ knew what was going to happen next. On March 9, 2009, the crash stopped at Dow 6,547.
On that day, what I believe is a ‘dead cat bounce’ began as the market moved up.
On January 19, 2010, the Dow stalled at 10,725 and headed down again. This is spooky. The 50% rule came true.
The next interesting point is 7,286, the low of 2002, when the rally began. According to Russell, if the Dow holds at 7,286 and begins a rally, this might be a good time to buy. But if it fails to hold at 7,286 and slides past 6,547, then look out for dead cats dropping from the sky. Russell predicts that Dow 1,000, the number at which the Dow began its rally in the 1970s, may not be out of the question. If that happens, there will be millions of baby boomers joining the dead cats falling from the sky as their 401(k)s and IRAs implode.
This ‘50% Rule’ may apply to other markets such as gold, the hot commodity of this era.
In 1971 gold was $35 an ounce. I began buying gold in 1972 when I was a pilot in Vietnam, watching the Vietnamese panic when they knew the U.S. was not going to win the war.
Gold hit a peak of $850 an ounce in January of 1980.
Gold dropped to a low of $252 in July of 1999. Obviously, I bought a lot of gold in 1999. Gold was at an all-time low because Central Banks, such as the Fed and the Bank of England, were dumping gold in an attempt to protect the value of their counterfeit currencies.
According to the ‘50% Rule’ of Dow Theory, when the price of gold was passing $600 an ounce(halfway between $850 and $252), a rally in gold was on. When gold passed $600, mainstream financial experts began warning of a crash in the price of gold… stating that gold was in a bubble.
Today gold fluctuates between $1,000 and $1,200 an ounce.
Is Gold in a Bubble?
When you factor in inflation and devaluation of the U.S. dollar, $850 gold in 1980 is $2,500 an ounce in today’s dollars. In other words, gold might be at 50% at $1,200, which is the highest of highs. Could there be a run to $2,500?
Your personal answer to that question will depend upon how confident you are in Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, President Obama, and Wall Street. If you have faith in our leaders of commerce, don’t buy gold. If you do not have faith in them, maybe you should buy gold or silver.
If the dead cat bounce dies and the Dow drops to 5,000 in 2010, as I predict, then the price of gold and silver may die with the dead cat of the Dow, as investors cling to cash. The next question you need to answer is, “If the Dow dies and the price of gold and silver drop, what should you invest in at the bottom…stocks, gold and silver, or cash?”
I know what I will do. I will buy more gold and silver. Why? The answer is because I trust gold and silver more than Central bankers, the Oval Office, and Wall Street. Gold and silver have been real money for thousands of years.
The Lost Decade
The people I am most concerned about are the average investors who have bought their financial planner’s advice of “Invest for the long term in a well-diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.”
Many investors are calling the past 10 years The Lost Decade. That means those who invested for the long term in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and cash are long-term losers. Japan has been in a Lost Two Decades.
A ‘lost decade’ means:
1. Zero job creation.
2. Zero economic gains for the typical family. Home values are down and many families owe more on their home than the home is worth.
3. Zero gains in the stock market.
Over the next few months, it is important to watch both the Dow and gold. As I write, the Dow is around 10,000 and gold is at $1,000. If the Dow breaks 7,286, the 2002 low, and continues down below 6,547, the 2009 low, watch out below. If 6,547 is broken and gold passes $2,500 an ounce, you'll have even more to worry about.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Regional CEO, Singapore and Southeast Asia, Standard Chartered Bank
STANDARD Chartered welcomes the proposals put forth by the Economic Strategies Committee (ESC), in particular, to boost productivity, to further promote Singapore as a Global-Asia hub and to grow SMEs in Singapore.
On productivity driven growth:
I believe the proposition to raise productivity through increasing continuous education and training of the workforce has strong merit.
At Standard Chartered, we have always maintained a keen emphasis on training. To support our growth, we have had not only to build our capacity but our capability as well. Hence, it has been important that our employees develop their skills and depth of knowledge.
To build broad-based skills in our employees - akin to the need for 'T-shaped professionals' - we have developed a Learning Centre to build leadership and specialist capabilities in employees.
On Singapore as a Global-Asia hub:
Singapore, with its pro-business policies, clear regulation, robust infrastructure, well educated workforce and excellent connectivity to the region already has much to offer as a hub.
The presence of a number of our group functions in Singapore is testament to this. Singapore is home to our global Consumer Banking and Wholesale Banking business, The Standard Chartered Private Bank, and is also the nerve centre for our global technology and operations functions.
The new propositions would serve to increase attractiveness of Singapore to companies looking to expand beyond their home markets.
Managing Director, Nestle Singapore (Pte) Ltd
THE recommendations of the ESC, especially in respect of Focus on Productivity gains, development and nurturing of SME's and leveraging the business and habitation advantages of Singapore for MNCs' (both Global and Asian) continue to be relevant and this indicates the 'opportunities' that lie in them.
The rubber hits the road, for success of policy, only when recommendations crystallise into entrepreneurial actions and are sustained over many years. The fact that the three themes mentioned are recurring and have found aa place in earlier economic transformation or competitiveness reports only signals the seminal nature of the ideas therein. I firmly believe that the centrepiece of the transformation that Singapore can look forward to lies in continuous gains in productivity and irrespective of the economic debates that we can have on methodology of measurement, enhancing Productivity questions the input-output processes, re-calibrates competitive advantages and introduces new and robust work practices,skills upgradation and preparedness for newer and more persistent economic challenges. In effect the other key recommendations around SMEs and locational leverage draw their sustenance from the upsides to productivity that corporates and other organisations enable.
The premise that sustained productivity gains will go together with relatively more 'modest' GDP growth of between 3-5% is pragmatic and will set the expectations right in business and society on the quest for 'Quality' growth vs 'Numeric achievements'. The most important signal that business can take out of the ESC is the unimpeachable fact that productivity lies at the 'core' of economic enterprise, and with margin structures becoming wafer thin in a whole host of industries, a vital recipe for sustainable business organisations,(in relative macro economic flux) is the gains that they can make per unit of resource vs alternate locations or business models.
At Nestle,the heartbeat of the organisation is around continuous innovation & renovation and a strong focus on 'productivity' defined on an enterprise wide spectrum. Indeed our Four Pillars of Organisation competitiveness are 'Innovation & Renovation' and 'Operational Excellence' with 'Availability' and 'Relevant Communication' completing the key enablers in our RoadMap for the future. As the world's largest food & nutrition company with a global footprint and a repertoire of household brands, we seek to be the reference company for nutrition, health and wellness which clearly hinges on achieving both innovation excellence and operational competence of a high order. We have embarked upon the 'Nestle Continuous Excellence' initiative globally and this seeks to re-align,re-calibrate and re-focus many aspects of our operations, both manufacturing related and also extending to commercial competence and leadership.
For us in Nestle Singapore continuous innovation and productivity gains have been at the core of our professional lives with highly respected brands like Nestle Milo, Maggi, Nescafe and Kitkat among others continuously evolving as products and propositions in step with the needs and aspirations of the Singaporean consumer.It is also a matter of great pride for us that our factory in Jurong is a 'global facility' for the manufacture of our proprietary Malt Extract that goes to make Nestle Milo. This achievement is clearly not possible without the quantum improvements in productivity through improved manufacturing practices, work methods,technology, work force skills and leadership development that Nestle and our employees have invested in over the last 40 years! It is an example of what 'Cheaper, Better, Faster' is in an actual commercial operation and what is possible in Singapore.
To us therefore the ESC focus on Innovation and Productivity clearly hits the sweet spot as it gives us impetus to carry forward with greater conviction what we have been striving for in Singapore as a commercial entity that will be almost 100 years young soon!
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Shell said production fell five percent to 2.96 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. --PHOTO: REUTERS
LONDON - BRITISH energy giant Royal Dutch Shell said on Thursday that its second-quarter net profit plunged 67 per cent to US3.82 billion (S$5.51 billion) on tumbling crude oil prices.
On a 'current cost of supplies' basis, adjusting for changes in the value of oil held in stock, Shell said profits dived 70 per cent to US$2.34 billion in the three months to June, compared with the same period last year.
Shell said production fell five percent to 2.96 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, as output was hit once again by ongoing violence in Nigeria.
Revenues tumbled 51.4 per cent to US$63.88 billion in the second quarter.
'Our second quarter results were affected by the weak global economy,' said Chief Executive Peter Voser in comments accompanying the release. 'This weakness is creating a difficult environment both in upstream and downstream' operations.
Oil prices struck record peaks above US$147 per barrel in July 2008 but then nosedived as a savage global economic slowdown slashed demand for energy. - AFP