Oman’s Commerce and Industry Minister has issued a Ministerial Decision amending the classification of SMEs in the Sultanate. The aim is to take account of the classification of these establishments in other GCC states. It means these entities will be classified according to their workforce and revenue. Under the new classification, a micro establishment will have one to ten employees and its annual revenues will be less than 150,000 Rials. A small establishment will have 11 to 50 employees and an annual revenue of between 150,000 and 1,250,000 Rials. A medium establishment will have 51-150 employees and an annual revenue of between 1,250,000 and five million Rials.
Sources have confirmed Kuwait’s General Authority for Manpower is working on a number of decisions and reviewing old decisions related to regulating the labour market to increase the employment of nationals in the private sector. The sources said this will be achieved by replacing expatriate employees with national employees in many roles. The Authority is also working on setting a workflow for recruitment of foreign employees by increasing the restrictions. The Decisions have been sent to the board to review and approve.
Bahrain’s Cabinet has discussed amendments to the Kingdom’s Sports Dispute Resolution laws. The aim is to enable disputes related to athletes and technical and administrative staff at clubs as well as sports entities to ensure they are consistent with the Olympic Charter and FIFA laws. A memorandum on this subject was submitted by the Youth and Sports Affairs Minister and has been referred to the Ministerial Committee for Legal and Legislative Affairs.
Weekly Spotlight: Economic Substance Regulation Notification in the UAE Must be Submitted by 30 June
The UAE’s Finance Ministry has announced all companies in the UAE who engaged in relevant activities up to and including 31 December 2019 must submit a notification of Economic Substance Regulations to its Regulatory Authority by 30 June 2020 to avoid administrative activities. Banking, insurance, investment fund management, financial leasing, headquarters and shipping operations, holding and intellectual property companies, distribution and service centres are all considered relevant activities. The definition of each of these activities can be found in the relevant activities guide on the Ministry’s website. The implications of Coronavirus on Relevant Activities which were directly affected by Government restrictions including travel bans, self-isolation measures, social distancing etc will be taken into account when assessing whether a UAE-licensed company has met the Economic Substance Regulations test for the relevant period.
Saudi Arabia’s Justice Minister has announced the Implementing Regulations to the Commercial Courts Law have been approved. The Regulations include various procedures and rules for the Kingdom’s commercial court system. They include controls for using the private sector and licensing technical opinions and expanding experts. They also set out procedures for grievances and objections to performance orders, raising appeals, defining judgments and decisions with or without pleadings, seeking reconsideration and denunciation, the length of consideration of uncomplicated cases, their procedures and the conditions and rules of collective lawsuits. The aim is to raise judicial quality in this area and ensure disputes can be adjudicated quicker. It is also aimed at consolidating the Kingdom’s commercial environment and providing better protection of commercial rights to attract more investment.
Qatar’s Interior Ministry has announced a relaxation of the requirement to register their national address for nationals and residents. The relaxation means nationals and residents who are abroad for education or treatment reasons and cannot return to the country because of the anti-Coronavirus measures being implemented worldwide. It means they will not be fined for submitting their national address details late. However, they will have to provide a certificate verifying this. Those who do not fall into this group will have to submit their national address details by 26 July.
Saudi Arabia’s Justice Ministry has launched a new e-litigation service as part of the Ministry’s digital transformation drive. On the first day it saw 7,200 written pleadings, 750 video conferencing hearings and 550 judgments. 1,050 of them were held in Jeddah and 450 in Mecca. Its procedural guide will be reviewed every month to resolve any issues. Among other things, the service enables the exchange of pleadings, submission of documents, remote hearings and proceedings, issuing of verdicts and copies of judgments and appeals to the higher court.
Bahrain’s Central Bank and Bahrain Bourse have launched a new service for Sukuk Murabaha for customers and banks to make the necessary liquidity and lending based on Islamic Sharia principles available. The aim is to enhance the capital market in the country. The Manager of the Banking Services Department at Bahrain’s Central Bank said these kinds of product give more variety of Islamic transactions and will help increase the depth of the market and Bahrain’s position as an Islamic banking centre.
Abu Dhabi’s Agriculture and Food Safety Authority has issued guidelines on how to deal with food safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines target food outlets, food delivery services and consumers and contain various sections including personal health and managing operations in health entities. They also include provisions on managing delivering and receiving food orders, receiving food meals and instructions for consumers. The aim is to clarify the anti-Coronavirus measures to be taken by food outlets as well as boost health practices by consumers to limit the risk of infection and increase health standards throughout society. The guidelines are available in Arabic, English and Urdu.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EC3 Brokers to implement a Group Health Insurance Master Policy. The Group Health scheme will be available to over 2,400 active registered firms in DIFC who provide health insurance for mandatory health cover to their 25,600 staff and their dependents. As part of the agreement, EC3 Brokers will act as an intermediary to facilitate the tendering process to shortlist the insurer and the third party administrator contractual partners in the UAE. Criteria will be agreed by both DIFC and EC3 Brokers. The idea is to reduce costs for firms operating in the DIFC.