Arabtec is going to file an insolvency liquidation application as soon as possible with the relevant courts in the UAE. It will be filed following approval at the company’s General Assembly. The application will also request Arabtec Construction LLC, Arabtec Constructions LLC, Austrian Arabian Readymix Concrete Co LLC and Arabtec Precast LLC also be placed into insolvent liquidation. No applications involving the company’s other subsidiaries will be made. Until an insolvency trustee is appointed, the Company will continue engaging with key stakeholders to explore options to preserve value and where possible avoid these subsidiaries needing to be placed into a formal insolvency process. It follows two months of consultations with all of the company’ relevant stakeholders.
Qatar’s Central Bank has dismissed reports ATM withdrawal limits have been imposed. The reports were published on social media. According to the posts, limits of 5,000 Riyals will be imposed. The Bank added a circular attached to the posts is a forgery.
Oman’s Labour Minister has announced they have issued Oman Ministerial Decision No. 232/2020 on Omanisation and Professions and Visas of Foreign Workers. It gives employers between 6 December 2020 and 6 January 2021 to reconcile the situations of their non-Omani employees. The extension has been given to particular situations including, non-Omani employees who need to transfer to another profession because their current profession has been given to an Omani national and need to amend their details accordingly. Other illegible transfers of non-Omani employees include the transfer from a suspended profession to another and the transfer from a lower profession to a higher one or vice versa. The Decision also allows employers to amend the wages of non-Omani employees in line with the approved employment contract.
According to local newspaper reports, Kuwait’s Commerce and Industry Ministry has announced it has launched an online service for the issuing of general import licences. Applicants can apply via http://eapp.moci.gov.kw/. All companies have been urged to use the e-service. It is part of the Ministry’s digitalisation efforts.
The Foreign, Defence, and National Security Affairs Committee of Bahrain’s Parliament has proposed tougher penalties for eavesdropping and spying. They have proposed a draft law to this effect. If approved, it will mean those violating the personal or family privacy of others by eavesdropping, spying in any way or form, or taking photos of videos directly of a person in an inappropriate situation or in a private place will be jailed and/or fined up to 1,000 Dinars. They have also proposed amendments to the country’s Penal Code, to increase the penalties for those who incite pedestrians to make immoral gestures, utter immoral words or anything else on public roads or a popular location. If approved, those found guilty would be jailed for between three and six months or be fined between 100 and 500 Dinars.
UAE: Abu Dhabi Global Market Launches Public Consultation on Third Party Financial Technology Provider Regulatory Framework
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market has launched a public consultation on a proposed regulatory framework for third party financial technology or FinTech services in the Global Market. It ends on 7 January 2021. Third Party Providers do not hold their customers’ funds but instead act as intermediaries in the relationship between customers and other financial institutions. In other jurisdictions like the UK and Australia, the growth of these entities has been accompanied by the introduction of Open Banking and Open Finance frameworks, which give customers more control over their data. The proposed regulatory framework prepares and regulates these FinTech firms to work with financial institutions in a secure and efficient way. This will protect the data and interests of their customers. It also provides a strong foundation on which to build an Open Finance strategy to support business growth and financial innovation in the digital platform economy.
Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank will be able to buy or rent property under the new Central Bank Law. They will be able to do so providing the purpose is to diversify its foreign investments. The Law also bans the Bank from engaging in trade or participating in commercial activities or taking an interest in any commercial, industrial or agricultural projects. However, there will be exceptions to this, where the Bank does any of these activities to fulfil any of its objectives.
In addition, the Central Bank will be banned from financing or lending to the Government or to any individuals. However, there will be exception to this where the Bank carries out these activities to help manage the liquidity of financial institutions or are responding to crises.
The Central Bank’s assets, revenues, and properties will have immunity and should not be raided, seized, confiscated, possessed, or expropriated and they are not subject to any bankruptcy procedures.
They will also not be subject to the Competition and Government Procurement Law. However, they will be subject to the regulations and policies issued by the Board, provided the regulations and policies are consistent with the objectives and basic principles of the Competition Law.
The Bank’s contracts and agreements will be subject to the policies approved by the Board. There will be some exceptions, including where contracts and agreements are related to foreign laws if the rulings establish, they are subject to the jurisdiction of foreign courts.
Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved the Saudi Central Bank Law. It means the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority will be renamed the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia. They will report to the King but will still have financial and administrative independence, in line with the international practices of central banks. All of the obligations and rights of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority will be transferred to the Central Bank.
Qatar’s Financial Centre has announced a new policy on providing legal services in the Centre for new applicants. It comes into force immediately. It sets out the conditions to new applicants looking to provide legal services in or from the Centre. Under the new guidance, international law firms can be licensed in the Centre if they are ranked by Legal 500, Chambers and Partners, or a similar reputable ranking acceptable to the Centre’s Authority, the firm will conduct most of its operations from Qatar and at least 51% of the entity’s activities in the Centre are attributed to activities undertaken in Qatar. In addition, the firm will have to have at least three full-time lawyers on the ground whose individual salaries are at least 15,000 Riyals each and the firm will occupy an office with a minimum of eight square metres per person. Exemptions may be made at the Centre’s Authority’s discretion. Firms which have a strategically important substantial contract with the Government or subcontracts, where the Government is not a party will not be exempt.
Oman’s Justice and Legal Affairs Minister has issued Oman Ministerial Decision No. 18/2020 amending the regulatory charter for the court’s experts. The amendments replace Articles 28, 42 and 46. Under the amendments, a committee for experts affairs will be established. It will be chaired by the Undersecretary of the Ministry and the general director of justice affairs, chairman of the public department for courts and the manager of the experts affairs department will be members. Experts who want to have their names registered in the experts lists will have to submit a request to the department and they will present the application to the experts affairs committee.