Qatar’s Interior Ministry has announced a relaxation of the requirement to register their national address for nationals and residents. The relaxation means nationals and residents who are abroad for education or treatment reasons and cannot return to the country because of the anti-Coronavirus measures being implemented worldwide. It means they will not be fined for submitting their national address details late. However, they will have to provide a certificate verifying this. Those who do not fall into this group will have to submit their national address details by 26 July.
Saudi Arabia’s Justice Ministry has launched a new e-litigation service as part of the Ministry’s digital transformation drive. On the first day it saw 7,200 written pleadings, 750 video conferencing hearings and 550 judgments. 1,050 of them were held in Jeddah and 450 in Mecca. Its procedural guide will be reviewed every month to resolve any issues. Among other things, the service enables the exchange of pleadings, submission of documents, remote hearings and proceedings, issuing of verdicts and copies of judgments and appeals to the higher court.
Bahrain’s Central Bank and Bahrain Bourse have launched a new service for Sukuk Murabaha for customers and banks to make the necessary liquidity and lending based on Islamic Sharia principles available. The aim is to enhance the capital market in the country. The Manager of the Banking Services Department at Bahrain’s Central Bank said these kinds of product give more variety of Islamic transactions and will help increase the depth of the market and Bahrain’s position as an Islamic banking centre.
Abu Dhabi’s Agriculture and Food Safety Authority has issued guidelines on how to deal with food safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines target food outlets, food delivery services and consumers and contain various sections including personal health and managing operations in health entities. They also include provisions on managing delivering and receiving food orders, receiving food meals and instructions for consumers. The aim is to clarify the anti-Coronavirus measures to be taken by food outlets as well as boost health practices by consumers to limit the risk of infection and increase health standards throughout society. The guidelines are available in Arabic, English and Urdu.
The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with EC3 Brokers to implement a Group Health Insurance Master Policy. The Group Health scheme will be available to over 2,400 active registered firms in DIFC who provide health insurance for mandatory health cover to their 25,600 staff and their dependents. As part of the agreement, EC3 Brokers will act as an intermediary to facilitate the tendering process to shortlist the insurer and the third party administrator contractual partners in the UAE. Criteria will be agreed by both DIFC and EC3 Brokers. The idea is to reduce costs for firms operating in the DIFC.
The Human Resources and Social Development Ministry in Saudi has issued detailed COVID-19 guidance on returning to work in the private sector. Issues covered include communal areas, travel to work, best practice while in the work environment and employer’s reporting responsibilities.
Kuwait is considering a draft bill to amend the labour law in the civil sector in order to allow companies which have been impacted by COVID-19 to agree with their employees to reduce their salaries during the crisis. The government has referred the draft bill to the parliamentary financial committee which is looking at remedying the impact of the coronavirus on the labour market.
New administrative fees have been set by the Bahraini Central Bank which will apply to personal, certain real estate property loans from 1 June 2020. The new fees are less than the ones imposed previously by banks and will enable the customers to get loans at a lower cost and ensure greater transparency in the mechanism for calculating these fees. The rates are 100 Dinars for personal and vehicle loans and 200 to 500 Dinars for real estate property loans.
The Ruler of Dubai has enacted the new DIFC Data Protection DIFC Law No. 5/ 2020. The new law will come into effect from 1 July 2020 and current DIFC Data Protection Law, DIFC Law No. 1/2007, will remain in effect until this date. New DIFC Data Protection Regulations which set out the procedures for notifications to the Commissioner of Data Protection, accountability, record keeping, fines and adequate jurisdictions for cross-border transfers of personal data have also been issued.
The DIFC’s updated Data Protection Law and Regulations set out expectations for Controllers and Processors in the DIFC on several key privacy and security principles. The Data Protection Law combines the best practices from a variety of current, global data protection laws, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the California Consumer Privacy Act and other advance technology agnostic concepts. They will enable DIFC to continue to build upon the Centre’s reputation as a leading global financial centre while also promoting ethical data sharing. The new Data Protection Law and Regulations provide a framework that will support DIFC’s bid for adequacy recognition by the European Commission, the UUK and other jurisdictions, easing data transfer compliance requirements for DIFC businesses.
The changes legislate for accountability of Controllers and Processors through compliance programmes requirements, appointing data protection officers where necessary, conducting data protection impact assessments and imposing contractual obligations that protect individuals and their personal data. Enhanced rights of individuals are clarified in terms of data usage by entities that collect and manage personal data, including contractual clarity on such rights when engaging with vendors of emerging technologies, such as Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Permit options for cross-border data transfers and special category personal data processing have been removed. The new Law and Regulations include appropriate data sharing structures between government authorities, which represent a key step forward in data sharing standards within the UAE and the region.
General fines for serious breaches of the Law, in addition to or instead of administrative fines, and ncreased maximum fine limits, have been introduced. In light of the current global pandemic, while DIFC Law No. 5/ 2020 will be effective from 1 July 2020, businesses to which it applies have a grace period of three months, until 1 October 2020, to prepare to comply with it, after which it becomes enforceable.
The UAE’s Federal National Council has approved a draft movable assets law. If approved further, it will repeal Federal Law No. 20/2016 on the Mortgage of Moveable Property to Secure Debt. It will now apply to tangible and intangible assets as well as existing and future assets. In addition, it will cover rights to claim payments on funds deposited with financial institutions and give a right to enforce obligations of counterparties under a contract. Receivables, credit balances with banks and other financial institution, written instruments transferable by delivery or endorsement, including commercial papers like promissory notes, bank certificates and bills of lading, vehicles and equipment will also be covered. Animals, animal products and agricultural crops will be covered by the law as well. However, movable assets which guarantee wage rights, worker benefits, public funds, endowment funds and funds held by diplomats and consulates and international government organisations are not covered by the draft law. ‘Secured obligations’ will be required, which will include all current and future obligations of the debtor or borrower. An upper limit of the amount secured will have to be provided and this threshold will be laid out in subsequent legislation. Under the law, a ‘security interest’ will be enforceable against third-parties and have priority over other debts. The first security interest registered will have priority over later ones. A new Register for Rights Over Movable Assets will be established and the Finance Minister will recommend the assets which should be added to this Register. Anyone who violates the law will be jailed and/or fined 60,000 AED.