Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Juridical Council has announced court hearings in the Kingdom are postponed. The aim is to tackle the spread of Coronavirus in the Kingdom. The hearings are cancelled until further notice except for urgent case hearings.
The Omani Police have announced customs clearing requirements will be relaxed. The aim is to help the commercial sector. Given the current circumstances in the country and the world, customs clearing requirements will be relaxed. Under the new requirements, imported goods can be cleared even when the importer is unable to provide the relevant documents and certificates from the source country.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council has referred the amended Bankruptcy Law (Bahrain Law No. 22/2018) to the country’s Cabinet to consider further. Under the amendments, owed amounts could be collected from representatives in Bahrain rather than in the country where the entity is based. In addition, owed amounts could be claimed from inheritors or guardian if the bankrupt party retires or dies. The 2018 Law was rushed through in 15 days as the authorities wanted bankruptcy legislation on the statute book.
Abu Dhabi’s Securities Exchange has announced it is temporarily closing its trading halls until further notice because of Coronavirus. The decision was taken following World Health Organisation advice to limit public gatherings. However, the closure will not affect trading operations. In addition, Sahmi services which are based online will continue to be provided.
Oman’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has announced it is lifting Skype restrictions for businesses. It is a landmark move and will allow Skype for Business, Google Meet and Zoom to be used. The aim is boost business continuity and enable communications to continue.
Meanwhile, in the UAE, according to local media reports, the country has lifted some restrictions on internet calls there. However, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority has not been able to be reached for comment. Under the relaxed rules, businesses will be able to use Microsoft Teams and Zoom. However, the restrictions on Skype, WhatsApp and FaceTime will not be lifted.
Qatar’s Central Bank has announced it is finalising a trial for a regulatory Sandbox environment to boost FinTech innovations and tackle possible cyber risks using Blockchain strategies. The Bank is using FinTech strategies to boost financial innovation which is the second objective of its strategic plan for developing the financial sector by 2022. The Sandbox will be an experimental lab enabling for testing programme software and financial and commercial services in an experimental environment to be evaluated later.
Oman’s State Council is considering a draft hidden trade law. If approved, it will help companies identify loopholes and boost Omanisation across various sectors. Hidden trade occurs when a company is owned on paper by an Omani national but, in practice is run by someone else. This person does not create employment for the company’s employees but instead makes them find their own jobs while still being employed by the company. Under the new law, those found guilty of engaging in hidden trade will be punished. The State Council will review the draft law and then refer it back to the Council’s Economic Committee.
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has approved a draft Commercial Courts Law and their procedures. Under the law, if approved commercial departments will be established in public courts in all areas and provinces which don’t have commercial courts. Appeals against decisions issued by these courts will be before the appeal courts located in the nearest commercial court until a commercial court is established in the same area. The law is aimed at reducing litigation time and giving lawyers and other relevant parties’ bigger roles. It also aims to provide an environment for commercial cases which understands commercial conventions and conditions.
The UAE’s Securities and Commodities Authority has announced it has approved an initiative to unify the templates used for listed company disclosures. The unified templates have been circulated to all the listed companies and financial markets with the aim of unifying procedures and disclosure requirements in the country’s financial markets.
The Authority’s CEO said the new initiative aims to improve services for investors and traders in the market and ensure the quality of the disclosures published. He added the initiative is also aimed at increasing transparency and ensuring no important information is overlooked.
The new real estate ownership law in Saudi Arabia allows for an independent ownership deed for each individual unit to be issued. It also allows for associations to manage the property affairs if the number of the allocated units in one joint property is more than three to be established. The association can be a representative of the owners in the matters related to communal areas. In addition, landlords who have a deed which meets the Sharia and legal requirements can also construct buildings and allocate them into independent units and issue an ownership deed for each unit.