Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved amendments to the Implementing Regulations to the White Lands Fees Law. They were issued by Saudi Arabia Cabinet Decision No. 379/1437. Under the amendments, the Regulations will be implemented in three phases. The first phase will include undeveloped plots of land with an area of 10,000 square metres or more, which fall within the scope specified by the Ministry. It will be implemented in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Makkah. The second phase will include developed plots of land with an area of 10,000 square metres or more for a single proprietor of 10,000 of square metres or more in one housing plan within the scope specified by the Ministry. The third phase will include developed land with an area of 5,000 square metres or more and the total area of developed plots of land for a single owner is 10,000 square metres or more in one city within the scope specified by the Ministry. It will also be possible to apply for more than one implementation phase in one city. The Ministry will carry out and periodically review the situation in any city to decide whether to apply taxes to plots of land there or suspend the application of tax, or implement one or more phases to bypass a certain phase and move to the next phase in the same city.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law on non-Qatari investors. Among other amendments to Qatar Law No. 1/2019, the amendment to Article 7 it will allow non-Qatari investors to own up to 100% of the capital of Qatari shareholding companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange. They also approved a draft Finance Ministry Decision to apply the requirements of substantial activity to the economic activities practiced in Qatar.
Oman’s Finance Ministry has issued Oman Financial Circular No. 1/2021 on awarding Government tenders which are no more than 10,000 Rials to SMEs. Under the Circular, all Ministries and public departments should award Government tenders for providing services and carrying work of no more than 10,000 Rials to SMEs who have the Riyada card.
Kuwait’s Central Bank has asked all service providers of electronic payment systems and their agents to get approval on the fees and commissions they charge for the services they offer to their customers. These businesses should charge fees for the services which represent a genuine benefit to customers. The Central Bank has issued these guidelines to regulate the electronic payment systems sector and set a suitable workflow to specify the fees and commission for this sector.
UAE: Dubai International Financial Centre Launches Public Consultation on Proposed Intellectual Property Regulations
The Dubai International Financial Centre has launched a public consultation on proposed Intellectual Property Regulations. The consultation ends on 9 May 2021. The Proposed Regulations deal with the requirements concerning intellectual property infringement complaints to the DIFC Commissioner of Intellectual Property, the inspections and investigations the Intellectual Property Commissioner may carry out in dealing with these complaints and the requirements for issuing directions in respect of them. They will also establish a Register of Experts, which the Commissioner can refer to when investigating complaints and also covers the ability of the Commissioner to cooperate with relevant Federal and local authorities in the UAE from an enforcement perspective. They are aimed at facilitating the administration and enforcement of the DIFC Intellectual Property Law (DIFC Law No. 4/2019) and enhance the regulatory framework in the DIFC.
The Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security Committee of Bahrain’s Parliament has approved Bahrain Law No. 29/2020 amending Bahrain Decree-Law No. 4/2001 on prohibiting and tackling money laundering and terrorist financing. The new amendments expand the criminalisation of money laundering to include any criminal activity provided for by Bahraini laws or any other laws and international agreements which are ratified by the Kingdom of Bahrain and became party to. The Law also increases the penalties by adding more penalties and granting the relevant authorities the necessary powers to impose administrative fines on violating establishments.
The board of the Abu Dhabi Global Market has approved the establishment of a new ADGM Authority. The new Authority will play a pivotal role in driving the Global Market’s growth. There will be an Office of Strategy and Business Development, Corporate Services, an Office of Information Security and Enterprise Risk Management. It will be led by Mark Nicholas Cutis who will be its Chief Executive Officer. He will take his position up on 1 June this year.
The UAE’s Cabinet has approved amendments to the Implementing Regulations to the Tax Procedures Law. The amendments extend the tax notification period from 10 to 40 working days. They also cover the time limit for issuing the decision of the Federal Tax Authority to reduce or exempt administrative penalties from 20 to 40 working days from the date of receiving the application.
They also approved a Cabinet Decision on the requirements of the Natural Person Insolvency Law. The law aims to boost the UAE’s competitiveness by making it easier to do business in the country and create more favourable conditions for individuals facing financial difficulties. The debt value which requires a debtor to submit a request to start the insolvency process is set at 250,000 AED.
KSA: Saudi Arabia’s Human Resources Development Fund or Hadaf has announced it has approved 33 new professional certificates
Saudi Arabia’s Human Resources Development Fund or Hadaf has announced it has approved 33 new professional certificates. New qualifications include cybersecurity, technical information security, information and communication technology, risk management, information systems and Artificial Intelligence. They also cover accounting and legal disciplines, business and project management and operations management, investment and financing operations, portfolios, planning and scheduling. The addition of the 33 brings the total to 78. The qualifications are linked to labour market requirements and the aim is to increase the efficiency of the national workforce. The programme is open to any citizen.
Qatar’s General Tax Authority has announced it has started implementing a simplified tax returns system. It will simplify the returns which have to be submitted by companies and permanent establishments who are exempt from tax and who are owned by Qatari and GCC citizens as well as whose share capital is less than one million Riyals and annual revenue is less than five million Riyals. The system has been introduced in line with Qatar Circular No. 2/2021. These entities will have to submit the tax return and audited financial statements based on the approved tax return form.