Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister, Tawfik Alrabiya has announced a new patient strategy centre for following up on medical mistakes has been established. The aim is improve procedures in this area. Alrabiya added the Health Ministry is looking to reduce the number of medical mistakes by developing and improving the relevant authorities to help document and treat cases quickly.
Dubai’s Airport Free Zones Authority has launched two initiatives. The first, Dubai Blink will provide the first digital platform for free zones who use artificial intelligence and Blockchain for trading between companies and enterprises. The second initiative will see the first financial market especially for free zones created. The initiatives are part of the Dubai 10X initiative which was launched by HRH Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum in February.
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Kuwait where the Finance Ministry has announced it has established a special committee to implement VAT in the country. PricewaterhouseCoopers have also confirmed their officials helped the Ministry draft the VAT Law. Together with PWC, the Investment Companies Union has invited all relevant parties to a conference on Problems and Best Practices on Implementing VAT. At the conference, the Taxation and Planning Manager at the Finance Ministry Osama Al-Qassar said VAT will be introduced after a six to twelve month grace adjustment period. The Ministry has also met with various sectors to get their suggestions and opinions on the proposed legislation.
Elsewhere, the country’s Manpower Authority and the Residency Directorate of the Interior Ministry have announced absconders will be able to legalise their status. Alternatively they can leave the country without paying any fines. The offer of legalisation applies to those who entered the country between 3 January 2016 and 22 April 2018. Some exemptions will be made for citizens’ spouses and children and foreign founding partners of companies.
Dubai’s Health Authority has issued a Circular banning all surgical filming in health care facilities in the Emirate. The Director of Health Regulation at the Health Authority, Dr Marwan Al Mulla said the Circular has been issued following an increase in people who aren’t allowed to be in theatres filming surgery to air live on social media channels. These activities can affect health professional’s concentration during surgery and violates infection control laws. Anyone who violates the Circular will be guilty of violating a patient’s privacy and even if the patient says they can enter they will not be able to.
The Director General of Saudi Arabia’s General Department of Traffic Director General, Mohammed al-Bassami has announced the female driving ban will be lifted from next month. From 24 June, women will be allowed to drive in the Kingdom. Women over 18 will be allowed to apply for a driver’s licence and women with foreign driving licences will be able to apply for a local one separately following an assessment of their driving ability. Driving schools for women have been set up across five cities in the country. Learner drivers will be taught by men and women, some of whom obtained their licenses abroad.
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Bahrain, where the Shoura Council has approved the bankruptcy law. A member of the Council’s Financial Committee, Darwish Almanaie said the aim of the legislation is to remedy some of the shortcomings of the existing bankruptcy law. Another Committee member, Sadeq Rahma said the law has been approved because it includes new provisions which are in line with updated laws and regulations and the requirements of commercial businesses. The law is expected to update bankruptcy procedures and establish a law for financial restructuring for enterprises and companies who will be subject to it. The law also regulates cross-border restructuring and bankruptcy procedures.
Elsewhere, the Public Utilities and Environment Committee of Bahrain’s Shoura Council has approved a draft law which would establish a public food safety body. The Food Authority would have its own legal personality and have administrative and financial independence. The Food Control Section of the Health Ministry is currently responsible for the safety of food produced or imported in to the country. The Health, Industry, Trade and Tourism, Works, Municipal Affairs and Urban Planning Ministries as well as the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry all approved the draft law.
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has refused recommendations to facilitate the purchase of largest share of Aramco by Saudi nationals. The proposal called for 50% of the total number of shares to be allocated to Saudis only to maximise the country’s wealth. Council members refused to support the proposal because the listing of this volume of shares is the largest public listing in terms of financial value and the local market will not be enough to accommodate it. It is therefore important to include foreign investors.
The Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri has announced they have launched an eCRIME online platform to receive cyber crime reports from the public. The www.ecrime.ae website has been launched as part of the Dubai 2021 Plan. It will allow any suspicious online activity to be reported by online users.
Weekly Spotlight: New Regulations and Technical Requirements for Leisure Drones and Cinemas in Saudi Arabia
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Saudi Arabia, where according to local media reports, regulations to monitor the use of leisure drones in the Kingdom are being finalised by the Interior Ministry. It comes after a leisure drone caused a security alert around the Royal palaces in the country’s capital, Riyadh. Until they are finalised, leisure drone users will have to get permission from the police before they can fly them.
Elsewhere, the Kingdom’s Municipality and Rural Affairs Ministry has issued the municipal and technical requirements for movies in cinemas as part of the Implementing Regulations for licensing cinemas including independent screening houses and cinemas annexed to shopping malls in the Kingdom. Amongst other things, the requirements state the location needs to be in the urban boundaries of a city, it should be allocated for commercial use and should be on two streets one of which should be a commercial street. They should be at least 100 metres away from petrol stations and gas selling points. They should also be 100 metres away from malls, factories, schools and wedding halls. The entry and exit points should be off the commercial street, car parking should be made available to customers with a ratio of one parking lot for every three seats and entrance and exits of cinemas annexed to shopping malls should be the same as the shopping malls.
Dubai’s Land Department has announced it has approved a new mortgage and finance law. The aim is to boost investment and the number of listed companies in the Emirate as well as make more financing tools available and update financial mechanisms in the Emirate’s property sector. It is part of a series of initiatives following the directives of Dubai’s Crown Prince and Executive Council Chairman, Sheikh Hamdan. These initiatives fall under the Dubai Plan 2021 umbrella.