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Business news and updates: Daily roundup (July 15, 2021)

Dynamic Business brings you a daily rundown of the most recent business news and developments from Australia and around the world. Here’s the roundup for July 15:

Australia economy might face significant impact from NSW lockdowns: Treasurer Frydenberg

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg warned that the lockdowns in areas of NSW will have a big impact on the national economy.  With the Greater Sydney lockdown now prolonged until the end of July, a new study suggests that confidence in NSW could plummet even more.

According to a second survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, nearly a quarter of Australian households estimate it will take more than a year for life to return to normal after the pandemic’s disruptions.  

When asked the same question last year, 14 per cent said life would never return to normal, while one in six said life would never return to normal.

Still, while the number of firms shutting up shop for the last time is on the rise, the business landscape is in a better position than the outlook a year ago when the economy was deep in recession.

Energy tsar targets 100 per cent renewable grid by 2025

The new head of Australia’s energy market operator has issued a rallying call for Australia to reach 100 per cent renewable energy in a few years.  

On Wednesday, Australian Energy Market Operator CEO Daniel Westerman told industry leaders that the challenges are too large for any single individual or organisation to address.

“So, that’s a grid able to manage 100 per cent renewables penetration – at any moment in any day – by 2025,” Westerman said.

“This is unchartered territory for a large, independent grid anywhere in the world.”

Australian Taxation Office identifies $284 million in fraud from COVID-19 stimulus packages

The Australian Taxation Office has recouped hundreds of millions of dollars from individuals and organisations that committed fraud by rorting Covid-19 stimulus funds, such as JobKeeper and the early withdrawal of super scheme.

It launched a JobKeeper Payment compliance program and has identified $248 million in JobKeeper overpayments

So far $138 million has been recovered, however, it is still pursuing $82 million for repayment, an ATO spokesperson revealed.

But the tax agency has decided not to pursue $64 million “because they are considered to have been claimed in good faith and passed onto employees,” they added.

The JobKeeper scheme ended up paying out more than $89 billion to almost 3.8 million employees, who worked for more than 1 million businesses.

The United States warns organisations s over doing business with China

The US has issued a tough new warning to companies about doing business in China’s Xinjiang province.

American firms that still have supply chain and investment ties in the region were told they “could run a high risk of violating US law.”

Washington cited evidence of genocide and other human rights abuses in Xinjiang.

“Businesses and individuals that do not exit supply chains, ventures, and/or investments connected to Xinjiang could run a high risk of violating US law,” said the updated advisory, which was first released in July last year. 

In a press statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the document noted that the Chinese “government is perpetrating genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang”.

India’s microfinance sector hit as defaults surge in pandemic

Small loan specialists in India, who mainly serve people without bank accounts, are experiencing an increase in pandemic-related defaults, which might put some of them out of business, according to industry experts.

According to Krishnan Sitaraman, senior director at credit rating agency CRISIL, loans that are overdue by 30 days are projected to account for 14-16 per cent of all so-called microfinance loans in the weeks following India’s second COVID-19 wave.

India food tech giant Zomato kicks off $1.3 billion IPO

Food delivery giant Zomato has launched its much-anticipated initial public offering to raise $1.3 billion, India’s biggest this year and the first of a series of public listings by tech unicorns.

Zomato – which counts subsidiaries of Uber and Jack Ma’s Ant Group among its existing shareholders – is one of the country’s hottest tech start-ups and dominates India’s booming app-based food-delivery space alongside rival Swiggy.

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