Kuwait’s Trade and Industry Minister has issued a Decision including regulations for mobile vehicles. The Ministry said the Decision sets out five conditions for mobile vehicles operation including establishing a sole trader enterprise or a company with limited liability to operate mobile vehicles. The person establishing the company should be a natural person with Kuwaiti citizenship. The manager should be Kuwaiti and the number of vehicles shouldn’t exceed one vehicle for pensioners and two for those who operate them under Section 5 of the Social Insurance Law or those who work in the civil sector according to Section 3 of the Social Insurance Law.
The Qatari Interior Ministry has announced the National Address Law (Qatar Law No. 24/2017) will be implemented soon. The Ministry added the relevant procedural and operational steps needed to implement the law have already been completed. The Law is part of an e-Government and digitisation strategy. When it is implemented, nationals and residents will have to register their addresses via the Metrash2 application or at any of the Interior Ministry centres in the country.
Every citizen or expatriate or their legal representatives will have to register their residential address, land telephone number, mobile number, email, employer address for Government and private sector employees and permanent address abroad. The guardians of minors will have to register them and verify the data is correct.
The Dubai International Financial Centre’s Intellectual Property Law has been enacted. It will enable entities to protect their intellectual property rights and safely innovate. DIFC Law No. 4/2019 has been enacted by Dubai’s Ruler. It covers patents, utility certificates, industrial designs and drawings as well as copyrights, trademarks, trade names and trade secrets in line with international treaties and best practices. It also recognises UAE registered trademarks, patents, utility certificates, industrial designs and drawings as well as the rights afforded to each type of intellectual property right and the limitations to the protection.
In addition, ownership of patents and copyrights in employment relations are recognised and a new Commissioner of Intellectual Property position is created. They will be responsible for administering the Law, resolving disputes and imposing fines as well as sanctions and remedies for intellectual property infringements. The Commissioner of Intellectual Property will also have jurisdiction before the DIFC Courts in infringement cases.
Bahrain and Saudi Arabia have announced they have completed the first Blockchain transaction. It involved the financing of an international trade transaction between the Saudi British Bank and HSBC. The transaction related to shipping standardised aluminum billets from Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C. (Alba) to Saudi Arabia’s Altaiseer Aluminum Corporation (TALCO). TALCO issued a Letter of Credit (LC) on a blockchain-based platform using R3’s Corda system. The system enables information to be traced and tracked as it moves between parties. As it keeps all stakeholders in the loop, it reduces the need for reconciliation and speeds up transactions, while providing visibility on progress for all of the relevant parties.
Weekly Spotlight: New Consultation by the Dubai Financial Services Authority on a Proposed Listing Regime for SMEs
The Dubai Financial Services Authority has launched a consultation on a proposed listing regime for SMEs. The consultation ends on 12 January 2020. If approved it will allow SMEs to list their shares on an Authorised Market Institution in the DIFC by providing appropriate and proportionate regulatory standards and adequate levels of investor protection. The proposals will be of interest to potential SME applicants, people who operate or intend to operate an Authorised Market Institution or ATS which facilitates trading in the shares of an SME, people providing legal, accounting, audit, or compliance services to SMEs in the DIFC or those who wish to provide these services and potential investors in listed SMEs.
It will allow SME companies to obtain equity financing through the capital markets, bridging a funding gap and compared to the established equity listing regime, to list with less than three years’ track record and benefit from lower fees when filing a Prospectus for approval and appoint a compliance adviser, rather than a sponsor, to assist it in complying with Authority requirements at application and on an ongoing basis. An SME applicant will have to produce a prospectus which complies with the Markets Law 2012 and Markets Rules, to be approved by the Authority, unless there is an exemption from the obligation to do so. Disclosure requirements will not apply to an SME applicant because of, among other things, its size and nature or limited years in operation.
SMEs will be able to list using their existing audited historical financial statements, prepared in line with their national audit and accounting standards, on the basis those standards are acceptable to the Authority. SMEs will have to produce audited accounts prepared in line with IFRS (or other standards acceptable to the Authority) and auditing standards of the IAASB (or other standards acceptable to them) for the next and subsequent financial years. Listed SMEs will have to comply with the existing requirements under the Markets Law and Markets Rules in respect of inside information and disclosure, including disclosure of interests by Connected Persons and of Directors’ material interests.
A listed SME, like any other Reporting Entity, should have a corporate governance framework in place at the time of listing. The Authority’s ‘comply-or-explain’ corporate governance regime is already designed to provide a degree of flexibility and it is expected it will permit a SME to achieve the outcomes intended while considering the nature, scale and complexity of their business. To accommodate the change, a definition of an SME will be introduced as will minimum market capitalisation requirements for regular listings. They will also need to have a trading record. In addition, there will be a lock-in arrangements, prohibitions on share repurchases, website disclosures and the appropriate fees. Finally, they will have to have a compliance advisor.
New visa rules for tourists looking to visit Oman have been announced by the Oman Royal Police. Under the new rules, those looking to travel to the Sultanate will have to apply for an e-visa. It will cost 50 AED. It will be valid for up to four weeks and could be extended for another week. They can be applied for online and applications will be approved in up to four days. The new system offers unsponsored and sponsored tourist visas; tourist visas for GCC residents and express visas. The families of residents, their drivers, housemaids and companions can also use the system providing they have at least three months remaining on their passports.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law regulating the press, publications, media activities and the arts and referred it to the Shoura Council to consider. If approved it will replace Qatar Law No. 8/1979 on Press and Publication and Qatar Decree-Law No. 16/1993 on Advertising, Public Relations and Artistic Production and Works. In June, the Emir issued a law establishing the Media City which will have its own legal personality and independent budget. The City allows licensed companies to hire their employees, regulate their status and import supplies without having to register them and benefits from with tax exemptions for 20 years.
Saudi Aramco has published its Initial Public Offering prospectus. The prospectus states it will sell 0.5% of its shares to Saudi nationals, qualifying resident expatriates and GCC citizens. 1 billion shares will be available to private shareholders. However, the prospectus does not contain any information on the total percentage of the company which will be sold, the level at which the shares will be priced and an estimate of the total value of Aramco. Various groups will now travel across Saudi Arabia, the wider Gulf region and elsewhere around the world to ascertain how much support there is for the Initial Public Offering. This process will start on 17 November and will close on 28 November for individual investors and 4 December for institutions. Private investors who buy shares and who hold them for at least six months after trading begins in December, will receive bonus shares up to a total of 100 shares.
The UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar Sultan Al Olama has announced the launch of an Artificial Intelligence Network to accelerate the adoption of AI across various sectors in the country. The network will be dedicated to gathering Governments, private entities, international organisations, start-ups, research centres, academic institutions, business incubators and accelerators to discuss and exchange expertise in this field and identify challenges and roadblocks which affect its adoption and how to solve them. It is hoped it will boost the country’s global position as a preferred destination for AI development and adoption and is part of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031. Network members will be able to take part in various local and international events, including the annual AI Conferences organised by the UAE National Programme for AI, as well as AI-focused seminars, conferences, workshops, meetings and sessions. They will also be able to network with AI
First Cooperation Agreement Between Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Authority and Dubai’s Financial Services Authority
Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Authority has signed its first cooperation agreement with Dubai’s Financial Services Authority. It was signed by the Agency’s Governor, Ahmed Al-Kholifey and the Authority’s Chairman, Saeb Eigner. It is aimed at strengthening mutual cooperation in banking and insurance activity supervision. It will also facilitate the exchange of information and oversight of institutions supervised by the respective authorities in Saudi Arabia and the Dubai International Financial Centre. In addition, it will allow secondments for employees from both the Authorities to the other.