The Emir of Qatar has issued Qatar Law No. 20/2019 on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing, replacing Qatar Law No. 4/2010. The law is to be implemented from the day following its publication in the Official Gazette. The Qatari Central Bank has said the new law complies with recommendations from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) by setting binding legal requirements for businesses and the financial sector on combatting money laundering and terrorist financing, including non-profit organisations and money transfer services. Those who violate the law will face fines and imprisonment. The law requires the “widest possible cooperation and exchange of financial information” with foreign counterparts. Qatar has already signed a relevant memorandum of understanding with the United States.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has brought to the attention of relevant officials to tighten control over markets and ban imports of Somali coal. The moves is as a result of fearsmoney earned from coal export in Somali may be indirectly used in financing terrorist activities. The ministry had received a letter from the United Nations on this subject. The steps have been taken as part of the United Nation’s work to remove financial resources which support crime.
The UAE has announced it has joined the US-led International Maritime Security Construct following recent tanker attacks in the region. The Construct is aimed at protecting maritime navigation and international trade. The Director of the International Security Cooperation Department at the Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Ministry made the announcement. The Construct’s task force is headquartered in Bahrain and its members include the US, UK, Australia and Bahrain.
Kuwait’s Trade and Industry Minister has issued a Decision as well, raising the security level at all of the country’s oil and commercial ports. ‘All’ measures must be taken to protect these facilities.
Recently, with the announcement of Sheikh Mohammed of the new Government plan which included the need to focus on Emiratisation there have been a number of statements made on this issue. Speaking at a meeting to implement the plan, the Deputy Prime Minister, stated that some institutions have been ‘manipulating’ Emiratisation figures and jeopardising the country’s stability in the process. He has added a new way of thinking and a new vision is needed in this area. There will also be greater scrutiny of institutions who are manipulating Emiratisation figures. In addition, the Ruler of Sharjah has announced a new Emiratisation Department will be set up in that Emirate which will be responsible for the hiring of Emiratis in the private sector. In addition, private sector employers with Emirati employees will have to deposit their salaries with the Government who will then pass the money on to Emirati employees after having made sure those salaries match equivalents in the public sector.
In Qatar, sick leave certificates issued by Hamad Medical Corp (HMC) and the Primary Health Care Corp (PHCC) have been changed and will no longer require the signature of the physician or e stamp of the health facility which issued them. Instead the certificates will be issued electronically with an e-signature and barcode. The system will be implemented initially at government health facilities only. Private health facilities, will continue to issue sick leave certificates which are signed and stamped in the usual way. These certificates could be issued to HMC and PHCC employees, students and employees of all organisations and entities.
Bahrain’s Deputy King has directed EWA to continue reissuing water and electricity bills for Bahraini citizens at their primary residence account. He has also instructed government departments to ensure the accuracy of services provided. As a result bills will be issued in September, October and November based on last year’s bill if that is lower. The Directive was given as the Deputy King met with the National Audit Office where a report on the accuracy of bills for the previous three months was presented. Recalculations of bills at that time were needed. The Deputy King has also directed EWA to reform its billing system.
The Royal Oman Police (ROP) has launched a nationwide awareness campaign to educate businesses on the benefits of registering their workers through the e-visa system. According to ROP officials, the work e-visa will be launched soon. There will be no need for those who apply for the e-visa to visit service outlets at the Directorate General of Passports and Residence. To sign up for an e-visa, visit www.evisa.rop.gov.com
This week, Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE, issued an open letter to citizens and residents explaining legislative and regulatory priorities. These included taking a firm stance on Emiratisation, placing controls on property development and ensuring the countries reputation was not damaged by use of social media. As a result, the Cabinet has instructed the National Media Council to control social media sites and ordered the Government Communication Office of the General Secretariat of the Cabinet to monitor live news and social media feeds. In addition, following on from this open letter, Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai has instructed the General Secretariat of the Executive Council to lead efforts on Emiratisation and has given them a deadline of two weeks to issue a plan with initiatives.
According to Okaz Saudi Arabia is putting the final touches to a “game changing” initiative to attract international tourists, with a visa scheme which will allow visitors to come to the Kingdom from up to 50 countries. Although not officially confirmed a government an event to showcase Saudi tourist attractions is to take place on 27 September and it is expected the formal launch will happen then. According to Okaz the visas will cost 440 Riyals and last 90-days. It has also been said tourists will be able to apply for these visas online or on arrival in the country.
Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) will start to implement the GSO 1943/2016 specification on cosmetics and personal care products as an Omani specification, by the end of January 2020. The specification will come into effect at the end of the six-month period that was previously granted after the issue of Oman Ministerial Decision No 128/2019 on the same specification on 28 July 2019. Shaima bint Khamees al Baluchi, a chemical products quality control specialist at the Directorate General of Standards and Specifications at MoCI, has said the decision has resulted from the increase in manufacturing and importing of cosmetics and personal care products in the country. The aim is to make sure all these products are safe for human use. The specification will require a number of criteria to be followed to ensure the safety of beauty, cosmetics and personal care products. It has also been stated the properties of products should not change while they are in storage or while in use, and they should be labelled to show all ingredients they contain.