Fintech Saudi has announced it has launched a new Fintech System Directory. It is part of the Organisation’s moves to develop this system in the Kingdom. The free directory will be publicly available on Fintech Saudi’s website. It provides a comprehensive database of the key support services and partners Fintech companies in the Kingdom may need. It is divided into five main categories. These include investors, financial institutions, infrastructure providers, service providers and IT providers. It also provides the details of 32 companies. These details include their contact information, services which can be provided and any exclusive offers or discounts which can be provided to Fintech entities. The launch of the directory follows applications for the Fintech Accelerator being accepted from October this year. The Accelerator offers an intensive three-month entrepreneurship programme which is aimed at helping Fintech communities grow and expand their businesses. Fintech Saudi will also launch Fintech Tour 20 which will be a series of high-profile events to increase public engagement in the Fintech industry at the end of next month.
Qatar’s Interior Ministry has announced new rules for installing surveillance cameras at Government entities and private companies in the country. The rules will be specified by the appropriate authority. The rules will vary depending on the type of company or institution. Under the rules, before surveillance cameras are installed, the relevant party has to get approval from the Security Systems Department. Permits will also be issued to specific exhibitions and institutions.
Tax experts in Oman have announced the VAT penalties have been approved. The penalties will include fines and jail terms for violators. The fines will vary between 1,000 and 10,000 Rials. Violators will be jailed for between two months and a year. Violators could be fined and jailed. The penalties will be doubled for repeat offenders. However, the jail terms may not be increased by more than 50%. Offences which will result in penalties include taxable entities which deliberately fail to identify the ‘responsible person’. This person is the company’s designated point of reference on tax matters. Legal action may also be taken ‘the responsible person deliberately fails to notify the Oman Tax Authority and obtain its consent to appoint another responsible person during the period of his absence for a period of more than 90 days’. Unauthorised fudging of data, failure to tax returns, failure to maintain tax invoices and documents in the prescribed way, failure to respond to a summons and submitting inaccurate data to secure a refund will also result in penalties being imposed. In addition, late tax payments will lead to 1% of the tax owed for every month or part of a month it remains pending being imposed.
Kuwait’s National Assembly has approved the country’s draft Demographic Imbalance Law. If approved, it will allow the Government to specify the maximum numbers of expatriates in the country. They will have to submit regular demographic imbalance reports to the Assembly. Exemptions for the children and husbands of Kuwaiti women married to foreigners and other GCC citizens have been removed. The penalty provisions in the Law have also been removed as there are stricter penalties in other legislation like the Foreigners Law. It has been referred to the Government to consider further.
Bahrain’s Public Utilities and Environment Committee has approved a draft law to implement the International Convention for the Protection of New Plant Varieties. It will protect new plant varieties in the Kingdom, regulate the rights and duties of plant breeders and support investment in scientific research and agriculture to develop new plant varieties of high economic and productive value. The explanatory memorandum to the draft law states the justifications for the law is to protect new plant varieties, regulate the conditions for protecting plant varieties, specify the duration of protection and the exceptions. It also states the controls of compulsory licenses, and the precautionary measures to protect Plant breeder rights. In addition, it specifies criminal penalties for violating their rights or violating the law.
UAE: Abu Dhabi Public Consultation on Proposed Amendments to Application of English Law Regulations 2015
The Abu Dhabi Global Market has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to its Application of English Law Regulations (AELRs) 2015. The consultation ends on 15 November 2020. The Regulations are the cornerstone of the Market’s legislative framework. Since their introduction in 2015, certain English Statutes in the Regulations have been amended in England. The amendments made in England have no legal effect in the Global Market, unless they are incorporated by the Board of the Global Market into the Regulations. The aim of the proposed amendments is to enhance the current Regulations by reflecting and incorporating appropriate amendments made in England to the English Statutes, as well as introducing additional English statutes.
The UAE’s Cabinet has approved amendments to the country’s Bankruptcy Law.
The amendments to Federal Decree-Law No. 9/2016 add new provisions in terms of ’emergency situations’ which interrupt trade or investment. The aim is to enable individuals and businesses to overcome credit challenges in times of extreme events like pandemics, natural and environmental disasters and wars.
They are also aimed at ensuring obligations are met and losses are mitigated against in cases of default without prejudice to the Law and enable creditors to secure their rights.
The new amendments also state the debtor will be exempt from starting procedures to declare bankruptcy. If the debtor files an application which would be approved by the relevant court, they may reach a settlement with creditors. They may request a grace period, or negotiate a debt settlement period of up to 12 months.
In addition, the relevant court, where a bankruptcy application is approved, will not take any proceedings involving the debtors’ funds which are needed to keep businesses running during the set period in case they default on debt because of an emergency.
Finally, the amendments offer the possibility of getting new financing in line with specific terms and conditions to secure the liquidity needed to recover businesses and enable them to survive challenges in time of emergencies.
The amendments are part of the Government’s moves to develop the legal and legislative frameworks in various sectors, particularly the economic sector.
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers has approved an amendment to Article 14 of the Kingdom’s Anti-Bribery Law. Under the amendment, the Interior Minister, following a recommendation from the committee consisting of the Interior Ministry, the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry and the Supervision and Anti-Corruption Authority to issue a decision to reconsider the ancillary penalties after five years have passed from the date of the end of the implementation of the original punishment. The Interior Minister will approve the remit of the committee’s work.
The EU has announced it has decided to remove Oman from their List of non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes. Their removal follows the reforms by the Sultanate to improve their tax policy framework.
Kuwait’s Education Ministry has announced non-Kuwaiti employees cannot transfer their residency permit to the civil sector. There are four exemptions to this. The list of exemptions has been sent by the Ministry to the country’s Manpower Authority. Husbands and children of female Kuwaiti nationals, individuals born in Kuwait, Palestinians who have documents or technical professionals working in the health sector in establishments licensed to operate health services are exempted.