Sunday, May 8, 2016

Over $12 trillion siphoned out of emerging nations; Greece passes tax and pension reforms; Millennials will be 75% of workforce by 2025

1 Over $12 trillion siphoned out of emerging nations (Heather Stewart in The Guardian) More than $12tn has been siphoned out of Russia, China and other emerging economies into the secretive world of offshore finance, new research has revealed, as David Cameron prepares to host world leaders for an anti-corruption summit.

A detailed 18-month research project has uncovered a sharp increase in the capital flowing offshore from developing countries, in particular Russia and China. The analysis, carried out by Columbia University professor James S Henry for the Tax Justice Network, shows that by the end of 2014, $1.3tn of assets from Russia were sitting offshore.

Chinese citizens have $1.2tn stashed away in tax havens, once estimates for Hong Kong and Macau are included. Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia – all of which have seen high-profile corruption scandals in recent years – also come high on the list of the worst-affected countries.

Henry, a former chief economist at consultancy McKinsey, told the Guardian his research underlined the fact that tax-dodging was not the only motivation for using tax havens – criminals and kleptocrats also made prolific use of their services to keep their wealth secret and their money safe.

2 Greece passes tax and pension reforms (BBC) Greece's parliament has passed a package of tax and pension reforms, ahead of a crucial meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on Monday. Controversial austerity measures could unlock more international bailout money for the country, allowing it to access a loan instalment of €5bn (£4bn).

Before the vote, protesters in Athens threw petrol bombs at police, who responded with tear gas. Trade unions say the country cannot bear another round of austerity. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the bill aimed for a "sustainable" system that would "have social justice as its core principle", as only 7.5% of pensioners would see a cut in the money they got.

He said the finance ministers' meeting meant Monday would be "a very important day" as debt relief for Greece was on the agenda after "six long years" of austerity discussions. The debate in Greece's parliament lasted two days as MPs debated whether or not to install the unpopular pension and tax reforms. They will reduce some pension payouts, merge several pension funds, increase social security contributions and raise taxes for those on medium and high incomes.

The leftist Syriza party secured just enough votes to pass the measures, thanks to the ruling coalition's tiny majority. In a parliament of 300 seats, it has 153 lawmakers. Mr Tsipras was elected as prime minister on an anti-austerity ticket but later signed up to Greece's third international bailout since 2010. Greece agreed to a third rescue package worth €86bn last year.

The International Monetary Fund and other European partners are demanding that Greece implement further austerity measures to generate nearly €4bn in additional savings - contingency money in case Greece misses future budget targets. Greece is already looking to implement spending cuts that will amount to 3% of the country's gross domestic product or €5.4bn euros by 2018.

3 Millennials will be 75% of workforce by 2025 (Khaleej Times) Organisations must act now to address the human capital dilemma with technology to attract, engage and support the next-generation workforce to fuel growth, according to a new study.

While millennials are expected to account for 75 per cent of the global workforce by 2025, business executives are not thinking too much about recruiting millennials. This is one key insight stemming from a new research study from Epicor Software Corporation, a global provider of industry-specific enterprise software, which underscores the need to address human capital and next-generation workforce requirements to fuel business growth.

Only 39 per cent said recruiting millennials was a "fairly significant" or "major" focus for their organisations, revealing a critical disconnect as "technology leadership" and a "skilled workforce" were top growth stimulants identified by those polled-elements that today's highly connected, technologically advanced millennials can well facilitate.

Fortunately, many organisations are working to develop the technology infrastructure that is necessary to attract and support the workforce of the future. Nearly 80 per cent of business leaders surveyed have made, or are making, investments in integrated IT infrastructure.

What's more, technology is necessary to prepare businesses for the next iteration of work encompassing robotics and artificial intelligence. "Today we're talking about workforce strategies concerning millennials; tomorrow we'll be talking about key considerations in the next workplace evolution-when millennials meet machines," said Celia Fleischaker, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Epicor Software.

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