7 Digital skills are not optional in today’s tech savvy world (UNCTAD)

unctadNegative stereotypes about women and girls studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects are among the impediments to an inclusive world where hi-tech solutions solve global problems, the 21st session of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development(CSTD), hosted by UNCTAD, heard at a meeting in Geneva on 15 May.

An all-woman panel discussed the theme of building digital competencies to benefit from existing and emerging technologies, with a special focus on gender and youth dimensions.

Recalling that women had played pivotal roles in the history of computing, Shirley Malcom, head of the directorate of education and human resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said it was “refreshing” to see the CSTD focus on issues of gender and youth in its deliberations.

Meanwhile, Helena Dalli, Malta’s European affairs and equality minister, said female role models were an important factor in promoting more women to take up STEM subjects and pursue careers in science and technology.

Profound changes for all

Speaking in a video message, the meeting also heard from Geraldine Byrne Nason, chair of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, on the importance of coordination between intergovernmental bodies.

To help guide the conversation, UNCTAD prepared a background report, steered by Shamika N. Sirimanne, director of UNCTAD’s, division on technology and logistics, and head of the CSTD Secretariat.

Setting out the issues

The remarkable technological progress the world has seen recently is transforming the fabric of our lives. The profound changes – driven by the spread of new information and communications technologies (ICTs) – will affect everyone’s life and every country’s economy.

For example, sensor devices deployed all over the world are improving agricultural productivity and making it possible to map and control epidemic outbreaks. And digital platforms are creating new job opportunities.

But Big Data can unfortunately also be used to influence democratic processes – as the world witnessed in recent elections in the United States and Europe – and automation means that certain jobs will no longer be available for humans.

“Opaque algorithms can ‘bake-in’ bias and exclusion,” Ms. Malcom said.

Whether the effects of technological change will be more positive than negative depends on the getting the right skills into the right people’s hands.

Miriam Nicado García, rector of Cuba’s University of Informatics Sciences (UCI), explained how her university was a new venture, begun in 2002, that aimed to tackle this problem for her country. Software produced in Cuba for health, education, legal and tourism applications was being made available free to other countries, she said.

A skills mismatch

Estimates show that already by 2020 90% of new jobs will require ICT skills. Yet more than one-third of workers in developed countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) currently lack the digital know-how needed. And over half the population in these economies have no digital skills at all – with female employees usually being less tech savvy than their male counterparts.

“The more we let the gender divide grow, the more economic disparities will grow,” Ms. Dalli said when explaining the proactive measures Malta had taken, as a small island nation with few resources, to promote women in STEM fields.

In fact, technology in the workplace can affect women and men differently. ICT service jobs are normally well paid, but the share of women in such positions remains very low, especially in developing countries.

A recent survey among 13 major developed and emerging economies showed that female workers tend to hold low-growth or declining occupations, such as sales and administrative jobs.

Although women are less represented in sectors threatened by automation, such as manufacturing and construction, the report prepared by UNCTAD ahead of the event says that since there are few women in STEM job families, they may not be well placed in the economy to benefit from the increasing demand for workers with tech skills.

Such a mismatch between what businesses need and what job-seekers offer will slow economic growth significantly. What’s worse, portions of the population could become unemployable. And with unemployment levels already high in many parts of the world, such a situation would be devastating, not just for the individuals but also for their families and communities.

Getting the right skills in the hands of the workforce will be even more important in developing countries, where billions of young people will enter the job market in the coming decades.

In Africa alone, about 11 million young people will enter the labour market every year for the next decade. If governments don’t help equip new job seekers with the right skills, they may have to deal with rising youth unemployment.

However, according to Sophia Bekele, founder & CEO of DotConnectAfrica Group, whose works helps African women run tech start-ups, developing countries may have a competitive advantage over older, more developed markets.

“The global South has best opportunity to leapfrog in the digital economy instead of reinventing the wheel,” she said.

Four levels of digital competency

According to the UNCTAD report, four different levels of digital skills are needed during the journey from adopting new devices to creating new technologies.

“The most fundamental skill sets for individuals and companies in the digital era are capabilities to adopt new technologies,” the report says, adding that “digital literacy for all is a basic requirement for every citizen to participate fully in the digital society.”

So every country, no matter the stage of economic development, needs to have in place basic digital education and training programmes for all its citizens.

For people, being “digital literate” means being able to use the basic functions of common devices, such as a computer. For a business, it means “knowledge about ICT installations in the existing business system,” the report says.

But more and more professions, even beyond the ICT sector, require the ability to adapt and creatively use available technologies. And it is when a countries workforce can modify existing technology or design new systems and devices technologies that real value is added to the economy.

“To maximize the benefits of new technology, countries and companies in developing countries need to have the digital skills to introduce modifications to new technologies,” the report says. This is because advanced technologies are often designed for contexts – both technical and social – that differ from the realities of many developing economies, and therefore must be adapted to the local context, the report adds.

Adding a gender dimension to the issue of context, Ms. Malcom said that very often, time itself was a scarce commodity for women that policies designed to help them must reflect.

A moving target

Technology’s impact, however, extends well beyond the labour market, and being tech savvy has increasingly become important for enjoying a good quality of life in what has become and increasing digital world.

“With increasing numbers of software and applications being used to accomplish everyday communicational and informational tasks, basic knowledge of ICTs is now essential for citizens to solve everyday problems, as well as to engage in community activities,” the report says.

Digital skills are a multifaceted moving target. According to the report, six major drivers influence what technical competencies people need:

“Increasing globalization, extreme longevity, workplace automation, fast diffusion of sensors and data processing power, ICT-enabled communication tools and media, and the unprecedented reorganization of work driven by new technologies and social media, which are massively increasing collaboration opportunities.”

But the other, more specific digital competencies required will likely depend on the country’s economic specialization and industrial development.

For example, the report says, “Countries where the manufacturing sector dominates economic growth will require talents, experts and a workforce with specialized skills in industrial robotics, automation and the Internet of Things.”

While the skills that workers need to use technology increases, so does the list of the complementary soft skills necessary to perform in the digital economy.

Human skills in a robot’s world

But digital skills are not enough to adapt to changing labour markets demands. Paradoxically, as work becomes more automated, the unique human skills that cannot be easily replaced by machines become ever more important.

So building and strengthening skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity, will be essential to create the flexibility required for the current and future demands for the workplace, the report says.

The need for human creativity and innovation helps explain why professions like engineering and science are less at threatened by digitalization and computerization, the report says. Likewise, occupations that involve sophisticated communication skills will also be in a better position in the digital era.

“For example, natural language processing algorithms can detect emotions underlying text, but are often inaccurate in comprehending sarcasm, humour or irony,” the report says.

Finally, even if computers and robots could perform every task, economies would still rely on people to come up with the new businesses ideas. That’s why the report calls on governments to equip people with the digital entrepreneurship skills.

source: http://unctad.org 

Belarus Considers Digital Economy a Top Priority, Develops Resolution For OSCE Meeting

mainlogoBelarus considers the digitization of the economy a top priority and is developing a resolution promoting digital economy for a session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE PA), local news  BelTA reports May 15.

Speaking at the Eurasian Digital Forum, the Minister of Telecommunications and Informatization Sergey Popkov said that digital technology is considered as a top priority due to its ability to transform “the economy, public administration and social services.” Popkov further cited the recently adopted Decree on the Development of Digital Economy, that facilitates cryptocurrency-related activity.

“The adopted Decree number 8 has provided unprecedented rights for the residents of Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP) to explore such innovative technologies as blockchaincryptocurrencies and smart contracts.”

In a separate statement, Chairman of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko revealed that Belarus is developing a resolution promoting digital economy for a session of the OSCE PA in Berlin this July. Andreichenko gave a statement about the coming session when he met with the Georgian ambassador to Belarus, Valeri Kvaratskhelia:

“…The Belarusian resolution is aimed at promoting the digital economy. It also deals with the issues of economic growth in the OSCE region, elimination of various obstacles and barriers, harmonization of standards, etc.”

The resolution has already been prepared and will require a requisite number of signatures at the Belarusian House of Representatives. Andreichenko said that the resolution will also be sent to Georgian MPs to gain their support.

Last week, local media reported that the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus (NBRB) is considering strict requirements for investing in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), and is planning to introduce а similar regulatory framework for crypto exchanges. ICO investments will be closed to authorized investors, who must fulfill two of four strict criteria in order to qualify.

source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/belarus-considers-digital-economy-a-top-priority-develops-resolution-for-osce-meeting

Difficult and contentious: taxing the digital economy (Australia)

Accountants have been urged to keep a lookout for significant changes to the tax environment as the government considers options for taxing the digital economy.

In Treasurer Scott Morrison’s budget address, he noted how the government’s crackdown on multinationals had brought $7 billion a year in sales revenue and would now be looking towards the digital economy as part of its initiatives to strengthen its tax base.

“The next big challenge is to ensure big multinational digital and tech companies pay their fair share of tax,” said Mr Morrison.

“Over the past year I have been working with counterparts at the G20 to bring the digital economy into the global tax net.

“In a few weeks’ time I will release a discussion paper that will explore options for taxing digital business in Australia.”

Thomson Reuters tax consultant Terry Hayes believes taxing digital business in Australia will continue to be a difficult and contentious issue and suggested that Mr Morrison was looking to Europe for ideas.

“Europe has been taking a lead in measures to tax the digital economy,” said Mr Hayes.

“In March this year, the European Commission proposed to introduce a digital services tax aimed at addressing the tax challenges of the digital economy in the European Union. Companies such as Google and Facebook would clearly be impacted.”

Mr Hayes believes the upcoming discussion paper announced by Mr Morrison might shadow two distinct legislative proposals put forward by the European Commission in March this year.

The proposed long-term solution would allow EU member states to tax profits that are generated in their territory, even if a company does not have a physical presence there. Profits would be registered and taxed where businesses have significant interaction with users through digital channels.

The second option, would be for an interim digital tax, roughly 3 per cent, to cover the main digital activities that currently escape tax altogether. This interim tax would apply to revenues created from activities where users play a major role in value creation.

“However, it is understood there may be some wavering on the proposals as concerns rise among European countries of possible US retaliation over the measures,” said Mr Hayes.

source: www.accountantsdaily.com.au

EU’s Taxation of the Digital Economy—Fair or Protectionist?

taxationThe EU Commission has published two proposals on the taxation of the digital economy and digital business models. Will the reform of corporate tax rules and the second measure of an interim tax lead to a fairer taxation of digital activities in the EU? Since the economic crisis of 2008-09, we live in a different world. Countries started to prioritize “taxation” in their financial agenda for sound public funding sources. Both developed and developing countries have increased the direct tax base on business profit. In this environment, important initiatives were developed by the G-20, and G-20 countries started amending their local laws and regulations. A recent example relates to the taxation of the digital economy. The OECD and EU agree that the current international taxation rules are insufficient because digitalization enables businesses operating with no physical presence.

Even though the OECD and EU agree that the current international taxation rules are outdated, their way of addressing it is different. The OECD does not conclude any recommendation because there is no consensus among the members. On the other hand, the European Commission approach digital companies differently by taking a short-term (interim) and long-term stance. While the EC’s short-term stance is 3 percent digital service tax focused on taxing advertising, digital platforms and sale of data, the EC’s long-term stance is based on “significant digital presence” focused on a broad range of digital services, i.e. the provision of films, music, software, or cloud computing.

However, “taxing digital businesses” needs a global policy consensus to be successful and eliminate double taxation. Otherwise, pre-BEPS “double non-taxation phenomenon” would result in double taxation.

Why is the Work of Tax Administrations Challenging in a Digital Economy?

Business models have changed in the digital economy. The following companies are an example of new business models being used:

* Airbnb does not possess any real estates;

* Alibaba does not carry inventory;

* Booking.com does not possess any hotels; and

* Twitter and Facebook do not produce content.

Airbnb and Booking.com provide intermediary services and Twitter and Facebook offer advertising services and acquire their revenues from these activities.

They operate without a physical entity (i.e. building, factory) based on the business models. Taxation rules based on a nexus of a business applied prior to the digital economy makes taxation difficult in the new economy.

According to public opinion, these companies do not pay a fair tax, which is proportional to their earnings, in order to provide for the state expenses. Because of this, governments have to take action in order to provide justice in their tax systems.

About 75 percent of EU citizens expect the EU to struggle against tax evasion. In a public opinion poll, 75 percent of the participants believe that the current international taxation rules allow companies operating under digital business models to benefit from specific taxation regimes and pay lower taxes.

What Types of Works are being Carried out Concerning the Taxation of the Digital Economy?

An international standard and cooperation of the countries are required in order to tax companies. The most important organization with respect to this is the OECD and the OECD’s initiatives are supported by G-20.

OECD Functions

Digital economy models complicate the place and ratio of payment of the corporate tax accrued over income. This is because it is very challenging to determine the extent of an income acquired from a certain country, which should be referred to such country, without a nexus.

Consequently, Action 1 of the OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shift (“BEPS”) Action Plan published a temporary report addressing the tax challenges of the digital economy (“temporary report”). However, the OECD does not propose a taxation method in this interim report. It determines what the alternatives may be and makes evaluations.

Finally, in the meeting held in Buenos Aires on March 19-20, it was declared that the Ministers of Finance of G-20 will publish an updated Temporary Report on Tax Challenges Arising from Digitalization and will work towards a consensus-based solution by 2020. The implementations of the countries in the short-term are determined in the report. However, the actual purpose of the OECD is declared as formation of the grounds for progress toward a long-term multilateral solution in the next stage.

Accordingly, many countries express that digital companies acquire high income in their own markets in the digital economy and that they are required to pay corporate taxes over these incomes. Consequently they are taking actions in order to collect tax. For example, Turkey collects 18 percent VAT over the digital services offered to the individuals by the companies residing abroad, which was brought into force as of January 2018.

The reason for the countries to make legal arrangements is that they want to collect tax over such earnings without any delay, although they do not have any taxable assets in their countries according to the current international taxation frame.

However, the common opinion in the U.S. is that the taxation right on the income is taxable in the U.S. since all the value added and the intellectual property rights are created in the U.S. This is based on an old adjudication in the U.S. related to the economy (SALT Alert, 2018-01: U.S. Supreme Court Grants Certiorari in South Dakota Case Seeking to Overturn Quill-http://src.bna.com/x6V).

In the Quill Corp. v. North Dakota case in the U.S. which is related to the distant sales, there is the Supreme Court’s decision dated 1992, stating that North Dakota does not have any authority to collect sales tax in the products delivered to North Dakota where the company does not have a physical presence.

However, the subject of “economic presence (nexus)” is again on the agenda and has been since 2016 but nowadays, the subject of “physical presence (workplace)” is being discussed and should be re-evaluated. The states enacted laws to implement the principle of economic nexus in order to apply the sales taxes against the Quill decision. In 2016, South Dakota included its own economic nexus principle in the law. With the law, the sellers, without any physical presence shall be taxpayers in South Dakota for the sales tax based on an economic nexus principle. The threshold for the tax payment obligation is determined as at least “performing 200 separate sales or sales with a total of US$100,000.”

With respect to the case litigated concerning this issue, the Courts of First Instance of South Dakota decided that the Court is bound by the Quill decision and decreed in favor of the claimants. While reaching this decision, the thesis of the state that the principle of the physical presence of Quill “was out of fashion under the light of the developments in the software and technologies,” which was the reasoning of the state Supreme Court, was rejected.

It was decreed that it was based on the reasoning of the Quill case. However, on September 14, 2017, the Supreme Court of South Dakota upheld the decision allowing South Dakota’s opposition to the Supreme Court of USA. The opposition is expected to be submitted in Spring 2018. The decision is expected to have a significant influence on taxation and the economy.

EU Functions

About one week after the publication of the Temporary Report, the EU made a press release on March 21. According to the EU bulletin, the current “international corporate tax rules do not comply with the realities of the global economy” and do not comprehend the business models which may acquire profit from digital services in a country where one is not physically present. The current taxation rules were not successful in defining the new methods of the digital economy for creation of the profit, and specifically, the role played by the users in creation of value for the digital companies. In the current system, there is disconnection or noncompliance between the place where the value is created and the tax is paid.

The EU’s digital taxation package key areas are as follows:

* For taxation of the digital economy, it enables member states to collect taxes from the earnings acquired in their own regions, even if a company does not have a physical presence. The new rules shall provide online entities to contribute to the public finance at the same level with the companies which are connected to traditional physical workplaces.

* This proposal includes a recommendation to the member states for modifying the Avoidance of Double Taxation Treaties with the third countries. Accordingly, same rules shall be applicable both for the EU member and EU non-member companies. The Commission also recommended to provide assistance to the member states in the determination discussions with respect to the application at the international level for the digital corporate tax updates.

* It recommends a temporary digital services tax until the new rules are created for the taxation of digital services.

In compliance with the new rules recommended by the EU, the member countries shall be able to collect taxes from the earnings produced in their own regions, even if such companies do not have any “physical presence/connection” there. These rules constitute a proposal which is expected to be permanent.

Details are as follows: If a company possesses any of the following criteria, then it shall be accepted to possess a “significant economic digital presence” in a Member State:

* Exceeding the threshold of an income of 7 million euros from the digital services in an accounting year, in a member state (for example, acquiring income from advertisement placement based on the user data);

* Having more than 100,000 user access to the digital services in a member state in an accounting year (for example, sharing economy and acquiring income from the services that provide access to the users on online markets); and

* Conclusion of more than 3000 business contracts between the company and the work users for the digital services in an accounting year (for example, acquiring income from providing broadcast stream to the subscribers).

With this reform recommendation of EU, a solution is provided for two of the main challenges encountered by the Member States when taxation of the digital activities is discussed:

* Firstly, “physical presence/connection” in a member state shall not be required any more in order to apply tax to the earnings of a company. A significant digital presence shall permit the member states to apply tax to the earnings acquired within the borders of its land.

* Secondly, the factors such as user data shall be taken into consideration in distribution of the earnings since these become more important gradually in formation of the company data and play a significant role.

The other proposal of the EU which is identified to be temporary is the new digital services tax (“DST”); and it shall take effect as of January 1, 2020 and shall be applied at a fixed rate of 3 percent over the gross income:

* The DST shall be applied to specific digital services including providing an advertisement area, presentation of market areas facilitating the direct transactions between the users and transmission of the user data collected, while offering digital content or payment services.

* The entities achieving certain thresholds cumulatively shall be subject to DST. DST shall be applied to the entities with annual global income over 750 million euros and annual revenue over 50 million euros in the EU originating from digital services. If this economic presence belongs to a consolidated group, then the mentioned thresholds shall be assessed on the group level.

* DST shall be in the member states where the users are. If the users are in different member states, then the proposal will also enable the calculation of the tax base to be referred to the member states depending on specific distribution keys.

* The Directive also provides cooperation between the member states in a single-time mechanism and provides the tax payers to have a single contact point in order to fulfill all the administrative obligations concerning the new tax.

As explained above, both OECD and EU agree that the current international taxation rules are insufficient concerning the taxation of digital economy. Despite this, OECD members were not able to develop a new and concrete taxation rule with respect to this issue at the international level. As a short-term solution, OECD member countries adopt the method of taxation which is applied over the sales mostly. It is expressed that the long-term solution is targeted to be achieved in the year 2020.

The EU proposed draft directives concerning this issue. One of these is tied to having “a significant economic digital presence.” And the other is DST at the rate of 3 percent, which is planned to be collected over the gross income starting from January 1, 2020. However, the application of these depends on being adopted by the parliaments of 28 countries.

If a tax at the rate of 3 percent is applied within the direction of the proposal of the EU Commission, this means the probability of acquiring an income of about 5 billion Euros annually for the member states. When applied to the EU, this single rate tax will be able to provide help for avoiding “tax exchange” and “tax distortion” in a single market. The tax of 3 percent will be applied only as a temporary measure until the corporate tax rules supporting digital economy take effect.

Are the Proposals “Fair or Protectionist”? Would the Other Countries take Counter-Measures?

Are the double taxation with the temporary tax of 3 percent and the international rules contradictory? With regards to BEPS Action Plan 1, it is observed that the governments prefer the alternative of “Reverse Charge VAT,” “withholding” or “balancing tax” as the authority concerning the taxation method with respect to the “digital economy.” Because of this, the method proposed by the EU does not constitute any contrariety to the third countries or the World Trade Organization rules and any double taxation agreement. This is because the OECD or UN member countries are yet to develop a common understanding of digital economy taxation principles. However, the proposal of the EU is parallel to the principle of “subjecting the profit to taxation where the value is created,” which emerges more apparently following BEPS and which is the basic principle agreed. As a conclusion, it is expected to remain to be in force until “final, permanent tax rules” are applied for the digital economy. The countries carried out arrangements for “VAT,” “withholding” or “balancing tax” as the authority concerning the taxation of the digital economy.

It is estimated that about 120 to 150 companies are covered within the scope of the European Commission’s proposal of 3 percent temporary tax, which means the probability of acquiring an income of about 5 billion euros annually for the member states. According to the European Commission’s Commission Staff Working Document (http://src.bna.com/xPv ) dated March 21, 2018, there is no reliable data regarding (see the European Commission’s Commission Staff Working Document, pp. 67-68, http://src.bna.com/xPw) the annual turnover of digital economy companies. But some two-thirds of turnover data is available by applying a revenue threshold of 750 million euros.

On the other hand, it is an issue of concern how the U.S. will react to the EU Commission proposals. This is because it is expected that 50 percent of the d 120 to 150 companies shall be the companies residing in the U.S. Since the U.S. discussed its concerns during the G-20 leaders meeting convened in Buenos Aires on March 19-20, 2018, it may decide to take counter-measures if EU countries adopt these proposals. However, if the arrangements brought by the U.S. tax reform are taken into consideration, we believe that such proposals of the EU are arrangements which are the subject of lesser discussions.

In response to the proposals of the EC, Business at OECD (BIAC) shared its opinion through a Media release (see The Business and Industry Advisory Committee, Media release, http://src.bna.com/xPx), dated March 21, 2018. BIAC warns against fragmentation in international taxation and calls for a broad consensus on a reliable tax framework for all companies. Unilateral action targeting certain businesses and deviating from established principles will reduce the potential for economic growth and job creation, particularly where these measures are based on the taxation of gross revenue rather than on profits. Additionally, the Chair of the BIAC Committee on Taxation and Fiscal Affairs, Will Morris, said:

“Business at OECD believes that the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework is the most appropriate forum in which to advance tax policy addressing digital taxation. We strongly encourage the EC to work with the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework to help develop global consensus through a broad multilateral process that includes business and all stakeholders.”

One of the main questions is whether these proposals, which require consensus shall be adopted or not by all the EU member states. Some member states expressed their concerns about DST. These concerns are, for example, DST possessing the characteristic of being an income tax since it is collected from proceeds. In other words, this is a tax collected from proceeds, not from net income and this tax shall be required to be paid even if the company is in loss. Moreover, DST shall not be considered as a tax paid abroad and this tax paid in a foreign country cannot be set off from the corporate tax calculated. However, it is understood that the probability that DST may be deducted as an expense may reduce double taxation risk at one point at a certain scale.

Planning Points

In today’s world, existing principles of international taxation is based on the “material permanent establishment” definition (Article 5/1 of the OECD Model Tax Convention). Therefore, the term “permanent establishment” means “a fixed place of business” through which the business of an enterprise is wholly or partly carried on, which is based on “a place of business,” “fixed” and “through which the business of the enterprise is carried on.” Therefore, an internet website does not constitute “tangible property in itself” and “not a permanent establishment in itself.”

In the post-BEPS world we live in the OECD recognizes “a shift in value creation” due to the digital economy. But there is no roadmap on how this should be reflected in tax policy.

In this environment, companies should identify potential foreign tax obligations (i.e. VAT or equalization tax) in cross-border sales of services and intangibles. In order to evaluate their existing indirect tax and direct tax status, companies can look at their existing structure as follows:

* Detailed functional analysis can give a first reflection with a focus on key assets and core activities;

* Where users and customers are located may constitute PE because data becomes a key resource to create value;

* Identify where real economic activities performed;

* Identify where countries at which sales are realized;

* Find out the person who is liable to comply with foreign VAT laws;

* Determine the definition of digital services;

* Find out what type of customer you have (“B2B” or “B2C”); and

* Be aware of the threshold for registration.

Finally, if the proposal is enacted, it will enter into force on January 1, 2020. Therefore, digital companies should be looking at their existing business models now.

Also, “taxing digital businesses” needs a global policy consensus. Otherwise, pre-BEPS “double non-taxation” phenomenon would result in “double taxation.”

source: https://biglawbusiness.com

Dubai Holding to launch region’s first digital bank – it will invest up to Dh1 billion (230 mil Euro)

dubai holdingDubai Holding, the global investment holding company, has announced it will invest up to AED 1 billion over the next five years to launch a next generation digital bank for the UAE, with plans to expand services across the Middle East and North Africa region. This announcement is in line with UAE’s goal of becoming a cashless digital economy, and guided by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision for Smart Dubai.

Owing to the UAE having one of the highest smartphone penetration rates globally, Dubai Holding’s digital bank will aim to provide an on-demand, fully customizable and engaging experience to individuals and businesses alike.

His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman at Dubai Holding, said: “Through our investment in Dubai Holding Digital Bank, we are enabling digital opportunities with the potential to empower individuals and businesses to leverage new financial technologies for additional convenience and to unlock new business opportunities, in support of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s for a smarter and cashless society.”

Leveraging Dubai Holding’s vast ecosystem of work, play, live offerings, the Digital Bank will offer unique perks and services to users, as well as providing bespoke banking services that extend beyond the traditional bank offering. Customers will have access to the region’s first truly personalized and dynamic loyalty program.

Dubai Holding’s Digital Bank aims to provide a state-of-the-art platform to facilitate digital transactions and accelerate the drive towards a cashless society, and facilitate the exchange of data and insights between individuals and businesses.

Apart from serving our individual consumers, this bank will be amongst the first pure play digital player in the UAE to serve the SME and mid-size corporate segment. We, at Dubai Holding, firmly believe that SMEs are the primary driver of the Dubai economy and their financial inclusiveness is a key to both Dubai and the UAE success.

Dubai Holding will leverage its exposure to and understanding of UAE SMEs to create a state-of-the-art loan and deposit offerings. We plan to address key SME pain points through transparent reporting across all SME accounts, cash management platform linked to receivables, payroll and payments.

The bank’s first products are expected to debut in 2019.

source: www.mediaoffice.ae

Online Training Provider Simplilearn Passes One Million Learners’ Mark

Simplilearn LogoEdTech company, Simplilearn, a leading provider of online training courses for digital economy skills, announced today that it has reached a milestone of one million learners. Having recently celebrated its eighth anniversary in the online training business, Simplilearn has doubled its learner base in two years.

Several key factors have accelerated the business growth of Simplilearn, including the acquisition of digital marketing training provider, Market Motive in 2015 and the opening of two new offices in the United States, in San Francisco, California (2016) and Raleigh, North Carolina (2017). Additional boosts in subscribers came in 2016 when Microsoft named Simplilearn as a Silver Learning Partner for its suite of Microsoft Azure certification courses and Simplilearn became Google’s first authorized training partner (ATP) for Certified Android App Developer training. In April 2018, Simplilearn was awarded a General Service Administration (GSA) contract for online training, to offer a range of professional certification courses to employees of federal, state and local government agencies in the United States.

“I credit Simplilearn’s rapid growth to our continuous focus on providing outcome-based training geared towards course completions, certifications, client business goals and learners’ jobs achieved,” said Krishna Kumar, Founder & CEO, Simplilearn. “We’re grateful to all our subscribers and partners who have enabled us to reach this measurable landmark, because our success is simply a testament to our learners’ success.”

Simplilearn’s year-over-year growth is attributed to its unique blended learning model and its expansive course offerings in highly demanded roles across AI & Machine Learning, Big Data & Analytics, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Digital Marketing and more, all of which are continually updated by renowned experts and industry thought leaders. In addition to helping working professionals gain competitive marketplace skills, Simplilearn partners with leading global system integrators, enterprise companies in the consumer goods, banking, telecom industries along with many others, so both, companies and their employees can get the skills they need to thrive in today’s digital economy.

source: www.prnewswire.com