Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a draft law to replace Qatar Law No. 25/2004 on Combating Concealment of Illegal Commercial, Economic and Professional Practices by Non-Qataris. It applies to those using the name, license or commercial record of another when these activities are for the benefit of an actor’s own account, or in association with others. Anyone violating the law will be jailed for up to one year and/or fined between 20,000 and 500,000 Riyals. In every case, the court will order the confiscation of the property in question or the proceeds from it, taking into consideration the rights of bona fide third parties. The court may also order the revocation of any relevant license, or annul any relevant commercial registration and close premises or suspend activity for up to one year.
A Unified Environmental Law has been called for following the 21st meeting of the Ministers Responsible for Environmental Affairs. The relevant Ministers also approved the Committee of Ministers Responsible for the Environment Affairs for 2020 to 2024 strategic plan and the strategy of the Committee of Ministers Responsible for Environment Affairs for 2020 to 2024. The operational committees will start their work to implement the plan. Each committee will set the detailed terms of reference for the committee at its first meeting and submit an annual report to the undersecretaries’ committee. A common framework for the GCC countries under the law will be presented at the next meeting
The UAE’s Central Bank has announced it will establish a FinTech Office. The Office will help draft regulations for this sector and encourage it to grow. It will also examine assets like cryptocurrencies. It will not compete with other initiatives like the sandboxes in the financial free zones.
The Governor of the Central Bank made the announcement at the Middle East Banking Forum in Abu Dhabi. He added ‘the aim of the office will be to position the Central Bank as the coordinating authority, as an author of prudential and market conduct regulatory requirements and as an enabler and facilitator of fintech activities in the UAE. It will ensure financial innovation continues in the banking sector with the support and facilitation of the national authorities’.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister has announced the Kingdom is considering introducing a carbon trading system in the country. It will be aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This kind of scheme involves a cap-and-trade system or credits which pay for or offset greenhouse gas reductions.
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved draft amendments to the Labour Law, Qatar Law No. 14/2004. If approved, labour dispute settlement committees will be established by a Ministerial Decision from the Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Ministry.
Kuwait’s Court of Appeal has ruled a local bank could not increase the interest rate on a loan. The claim was brought by a lawyer who argued the bank breached the law when it deducted interest from her client loan before deducting the actual amount lent to her client. The lawyer argued the bank breached the Civil Law and Trade Law.
The Dubai Municipality has announced it is ready to make all future contracts digital. They will become the first Government agency to do so. It comes as the Dubai Government looks to go completely paperless. The Municipality is waiting for legal authorisation before it starts issuing the first digital contracts. It means contractors and suppliers will be able to agree deals digitally with the Municipality by securing approvals and making electronic signatures.
The Registration Authority of Abu Dhabi’s Global Market has announced it has issued new Employment Regulations 2019 and Compensation Awards and Limits Rules 2019. The Regulations will come into force on 1 January 2020.
It follows a public consultation earlier this year on proposed amendments to the 2015 Regulations and have been drafted taking into account international standards.
The key changes introduced by the Regulations and Rules include new overtime provisions for employees, aligning certain employees’ entitlements with those onshore, including repatriation flight tickets and sick leave, changes allowing employers and employees more flexibility in negotiating notice periods, introducing protective provisions for those aged between 15 and 18 and introducing a discretionary power to the Market Courts to impose penalties on employers for failing to pay employees’ entitlements due on termination.
DIFC has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments related to the Employee Workplace Savings plan.
The Dubai International Financial Centre has announced it has launched a public consultation on proposed amendments to the 2019 Employment Law. The consultation ends on 18 November 2019. The proposed amendments relate to the Employee Workplace Savings plan. If approved, all employers based in the Centre will have to pay mandatory contributions into the scheme or into an alternative qualifying scheme. The requirements for these alternative qualifying schemes will require employers to make mandatory contributions towards employees’ end-of-service benefits and which will allow Centre employees to add their own savings as voluntary contributions. The Centre has also launched a consultation on proposed Employment Regulations which state the mandatory requirements for a qualifying scheme.
According to local newspaper reports, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister has issued a Ministerial Decision which will allow expatriates to transfer their visit visas to work visas. Under Kuwait Ministerial Decision No. 957/2019, visit visas can be transferred to residence visas for dependents arriving on family or tourist visit visas, domestic helpers, holders of valid residence who do not exceed stay of 6 months outside Kuwait and have to enter with a visit visa, those who enter for work and start procedure to get residency but have to leave for maximum one month and visitors of ministries and public authorities with a Government visit visa. It will cost 3 Dinars to get a visa on arrival, 10 Dinars a person a year to renew residence and 10 Dinars a person a year for dependent residency fees for spouses and children.