Bahrain’s Central Bank has announced new regulations to create a regulatory framework to allow start-ups and fintech firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions. It will provide a virtual space for companies to test their technology-based innovative solutions and will be open to existing Central Bank licensees and other local and foreign firms. The testing duration will be nine months and can be extended for up to three months. To be eligible, solutions need to demonstrate their solution is innovative, beneficial to customers, technically tested and will be deployed in the Kingdom after the trial period ends.
Dubai’s Ruler, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a Law to regulate civil organisations in the Emirate. Under the law, the organisations, which will be legally referred to as civil establishments will have to designate a specific financial allocation to cover the cost of their activities. The activities can be in the social, health, educational, cultural, scientific, occupational, creative, art or humanitarian fields. Each civil organisation must have at least 10 founders, including two Emiratis. No activity can be undertaken until the organisation is granted a licence by the Community Development Authority. Registration will include the organisation’s headquarters, geographical range, its purpose, activities and target groups, its member’s names and their nationalities, professions and residences.
Event licencing changes have been approved following an agreement between Abu Dhabi’s Tourism and Culture Authority and the General Command of the UAE Armed Forces. The agreement will establish an e-service for event licences to be obtained. It was signed for the Authority by its Director-General, Saif Saeed Ghobash and by the Head of Administration and Human Resources at the UAE’s Defence Ministry, Major General Salem Saeed Ghafan Al Jabri.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency has requested insurance companies send quarterly reports on the Saudisation
The Chairman of the Insurance Committee at the Alshariqyia Trade and Industry Chamber, Salah Aljabr has confirmed the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency has requested insurance companies send quarterly reports on their activities. This includes showing their commitment in training Saudi nationals. Aljabr added these reports should include details of training policies for managers and employees. Aljabr explained the relevant companies are completing the necessary procedures to complete the full Saudisation of the Vehicle Claims Management Department, Customer Service and Complaint. The deadline to introduce full Saudisation to these sectors is July 2017. Aljabr added the Agency has given companies sufficient time to complete the procedures and confirmed the Saudisation level in these sectors is 100%.
New UAE Traffic Laws: Drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts. If they don’t they will be fined 400 AED and incur 4 traffic points.
The Abu Dhabi Police have confirmed the amended Federal Traffic Law (Federal Law No 21/1995) has started to be implemented. It started to be implemented on 1 July in line with UAE Federal Ministerial Decision No. 177/2017 and UAE Federal Ministerial Decision No. 178/2017 on traffic control rules and procedures. Amongst the amendments, all drivers and passengers must wear seatbelts. If they don’t they will be fined 400 AED and incur four traffic points.
This week the focus is on litigation developments in Dubai, where following a Dubai Judicial Tribunal Decision there is uncertainty over whether or not creditors can enforce arbitration awards issued outside Dubai and the UAE against Dubai-based debtors despite the UAE being a signatory to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards. This Convention is also known as the New York Convention and the UAE signed up to it in 2006. It means the UAE courts have to recognise and enforce international arbitration awards without re-examining the merits of individual awards. In its decision in Case 1/2017 handed down on 22 May, the Tribunal blocked the DIFC Courts from recognising and enforcing a London-based arbitration decision. The Tribunal gave priority to the parallel action being taken in the Dubai Centre for the Amicable Settlement of Disputes which is connected to the Dubai Courts.
In another judgment, the Dubai International Financial Centre Courts have issued an order prohibiting the owner of the Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai hotel from taking any further actions to prevent Viceroy Hotels and Resorts (Viceroy) from exercising their exclusive authority to manage and operate the hotel. Viceroy launched an action following the action by the hotel’s owner on 19 June, when it announced the purported takeover of the hotel by FIVE Hotels and Resorts. The owner’s actions breached the existing hotel management agreement. Viceroy is currently taking steps to ensure the hotel owner fully complies with the court order and the hotel management agreement. Amongst other things, Viceroy’s name, signs, and branding have to be reinstated at the hotel. Viceroy Hotels and Resorts signed a long-term hotel management agreement to operate the Palm Jumeirah hotel in 2013. The resort officially opened on 31 March 2017.
The Lebanese Cabinet has approved a new draft election law. The law will be voted on by the parliament this week and changes the electoral system from one based around seats reserved for specific religious sects to proportional representation. There have not been elections in Lebanon since 2009 and this reform is being seen as a way of overcoming this deadlock. However, there has also been an agreement that even following this law’s passage there will be no elections until May 2018 at the earliest.
Saudi Arabia has announced the deadline for implementing the next stage of the salary protection programme
Saudi Arabia’s Labour and Social Development Ministry has announced the deadline for implementing the next stage of the salary protection programme. The Ministry’s official spokesperson, Khalid Aba Alkhail said stages 11 to 16 of the programme targets enterprises employing 11 to 80 employees. The eleventh stage will be implemented in August 2017 and will target enterprises employing 60 to 79 employees. The aim of the programme is to protect salaries and fine enterprises who fail to pay the salaries on time 3000 Riyals. This fine will be multiplied by the number of employees affected.
The Royal Oman Police have announced a new e-visa system is going to be launched. Applicants will be able to apply through their website and will be available to all countries and nationalities. It is going to be linked to relevant ministries, including the Manpower Ministry for work-permits, the Commerce and Industry Ministry to validate commercial register entries and the Civil Service Ministry for Government visas for foreign civil servants. The aim is to have two visa types. One will be for 67 tourist countries and 116 professions. Another list will be for GCC residents.
This week the spotlight is on employment and transport developments in United Arab Emirates where the annual summer midday outdoor working ban has begun in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The annual three-month ban on outdoor work has started. In the UAE the ban runs from 15 June to 15 September when workers are not permitted to work outside between the hours of 12.30 and 3pm. The ban in Saudi runs at the same time but outdoor working there is forbidden between 12 and 3pm, except for those working in the oil and gas industries or emergency services. (Although employers in those sectors are still required to ensure their workers have adequate protection from the sun. The Saudi Labour Ministry has set up a special hotline for reporting employers violating these rules and have warned those who do so will face heavy penalties.
Elsewhere, officials at Abu Dhabi’s Integrated Transport Centre have announced owners of abandoned cars will be fined 1,000 AED and have their vehicle impounded. The Centre, together with the Abu Dhabi Municipality is cracking down on vehicles abandoned in car parks and outside villas amongst other places. An awareness campaign has been launched and notices to owners of abandoned cars have started to be issued. The notices give abandoned car owners three days to remove or clean them. Unattended car owners will have 24 hours to remove them. The rules will also apply to trailers and boats. If the fine is paid in two weeks, a 25% discount will be given to vehicle owners.