Oman’s Sultan has issued three Decrees including a Decree establishing the Credit and Financial Information Centre. Under Oman Sultani Decree No. 38/2019, a Credit and Financial Information Centre will be established. It will report into the Sultanate’s Central Bank. It will be independent legally as well as administratively and financially. All of the assets, data and their systems from the Banking Credit Information Statistics Department and the Central Bank will be transferred to the new Centre. The Board of Governors of the Central Bank will issue the regulations and decisions necessary to enforce Oman Sultani Decree No. 38/2019. Until they do, the relevant Central Bank regulations and decisions will continue to be enforced unless it contradicts or contravenes the new Decree.
According to sources in Kuwait, the draft Expatriate Remittance Tax Law has been withdrawn. It followed strong Government criticism of the proposed legislation. Amid concerns the Government would have rejected it, MPs withdrew the legislation rather than risk rejection which would have meant 44 MPs would have had to of approved the reconsideration of the legislation in the country’s Parliament.
Bahraini MPs have approved an amendment to the 2001 Non-Bahrainis Ownership of Property and Plots Law which will mean expatriate property investors will not be able to own property in areas which aren’t designated tourism or investment zones. Previously foreigners were able to buy property anywhere in the Kingdom. It follows concerns Bahrainis were being priced out of the market. The Shoura Council will now consider the amendment.
The UAE Cabinet has approved an eight point strategy which aims at putting the country at the forefront of global efforts to develop artificial intelligence, called the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031. The strategy covers areas including reaffirming the UAE’s position as a global artificial intelligence (AI) hub, employing AI in customer services and recruiting and training people to work in fields which will be driven by the technology in the future. The first phase of the strategy will focus on areas such as healthcare, cyber security, logistics and transportation and tourism and hospitality. In March 2018, the UAE Cabinet formed a council for artificial intelligence to oversee AI integration in government
Kuwait Manpower Authority officials have announced the Authority is exempting expatriates from the visa transfer ban. However, the exemption will only apply if the expatriate employee initially transferred to a small company locally and then transferred their residency from a small project to the private sector. It does not apply to other expatriates.
Bahrain’s Central Bank has announced it has issued draft insurance aggregator rules. Insurance aggregators are intermediaries with an insurance broker’s license who operate an online platform, whether hosted on an Internet website or available as a smart device application which provides price comparisons and facilitates the purchase of insurance policies from several insurance licensees. By introducing insurance aggregators, customers will be able to find and choose insurance quotes from several insurance companies under a single electronic platform or mobile device application, instead of obtaining quotes individually and purchase insurance online from a single insurance company. The move is the first step towards Insuretech which is a technology-led transformation of the insurance sector. Copies of the directive are available on the Central Bank Website.
Kuwait’s Capital Market Authority has announced it is launching an awareness campaign for its qualifications examinations project for registered employment positions. The project is being launched with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. The project will result in the Professional Qualifications Programme which the Authority will implement by 30 September 2019.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council has approved a draft law to regulate hygiene, following Bahrain Royal Decree No. 86/2014. It will apply to waste and its transportation and disposal. It will also cover waste dumping and depositing waste in incorrect facilities. In addition, it will ban abandoning scrap vehicles on streets and leaving vehicles in public streets and squares to sell. Finally it will allow waste to only be transported by licensed companies and institutions.
Oman’s Central Bank has issued a Bank Resolution Framework which sets out the recovery and resolution regime for the Sultanate’s banking sector. It will apply to all banks who are designated as important domestic banks by the Central Bank. The Bank at its discretion may apply all or parts of the framework to any other bank licensed by it. The aim is to prepare banks for self-recovery and in the relevant circumstances allow the authorities to help them with minimal disruption to them and the wider banking sector and at the lowest possible cost.
The Governor of Qatar’s Central Bank has issued a Decision on the instructions for licensing, organising and supervising the services of supporting insurance providers, in line with Qatar Law No. 13/2012. Qatar Decision No. 7/2019 came into force on 1 April 2019. Amongst other things, they establish a code of conduct for their operations and ensure insurance providers meet their obligations under the Decision. They also cover licensing procedures and the requirements to practice as an insurance provider. Those entities affected have to comply with the Decision and the relevant authorities have to implement the Decision.