Bahrain’s Parliament has unanimously approved a GCC-wide anti-commercial cheating Law. The GCC Commercial Cheating Combating Law was approved following feedback from Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister, Zayed Al Zayani. If the Shoura Council approves it, the Law will be sent to the King to approve and if he does, the 2014 Commercial Cheating Law will be revoked. Under the draft law, those who cheat consumers by providing them with tampered or manipulated products will be jailed for up to two years or fined between 500 and 100,000 Dinars or jailed and fined. If those involved in forging documents, stamps, weights, measurements or contents to introduce products harmful to humans and animals, they will be jailed up to three years, or fined between 10,000 and 100,000 Dinars, or both.
The President of Egypt’s Financial Regulatory Authority Mohamed Omran has announced Parliament will vote on the amendments to the Capital Market Law next month. Omran added work is ongoing to redraft the new comprehensive insurance law to ensure it is unified with the Private Insurance Funds Law.
Jordan’s Parliamentary Transport Commission has said private cars working with Uber and Careem are breaking the Law. The Commission Chairman, Hasan Alajarma said private cars working with smart applications for transport such as Uber and Careem violate the Passengers Transport Law, Jordan Law No. 19/2017, which stipulates vehicles transporting passengers should be public vehicles.
UAE: Dubai International Ports has announced it is establishing an investment platform with the Indian Fund for Investment and Infrastructure
Dubai International Ports has announced it is establishing an investment platform with the Indian Fund for Investment and Infrastructure. The aim is invest in Indian ports, stations and logistics sector. The platform will also examine the possible extension of the activities to include river ports, transport, cargo routes and private economic zones close to ports.
This week the spotlight is on banking and finance and employment developments in Saudi Arabia, where Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars member, Abdullah Almutleg, has warned against trading in Bitcoin. He added it is very risky and risky investments are forbidden under Sharia Law. Saudi Arabia is the third Arab country to warn against the use of bitcoins after Palestine and Egypt.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia’s Human Resources Development Fund, Hadaf has announced it has decided to cover up to 80% of the travel cost of female nationals working in the private sector. The move is part of the Female Workers Transport Support which aims to find solutions for transport challenges faced by female workers when travelling to and from work. Female workers wishing to benefit from this scheme should register on the General Organisation for Social Insurance’s website.
Weekly Spotlight: UAE Federal Tax Authority has announced some exceptional amendments to the VAT first accounting period
This week the spotlight is on VAT developments in the UAE, where the Federal Tax Authority has announced it has made some exceptional amendments to the first accounting period for those subject to VAT. The move follows calls from a number of VAT-subject authorities and institutions for an extension. The exceptional amendments include an extension to the accounting tax period from one to three months for some businesses and amending the quarterly tax period, scheduled to end during the first tax period at the end of January or February, to now end on the second tax period. The tax period for some businesses will, therefore, be four months and five months for other businesses. However businesses with a three-month tax period ending in March will not be affected by the amendments.
Elsewhere, the Tax Authority has clarified the import procedures non-VAT registered businesses should follow following the introduction of VAT in the country on 1 January 2018. Non-registered businesses looking to import into the UAE must follow standard customs procedures. They must either complete a declaration and pay through the e-Dirham system or through the eServices portal on the Authority’s website or via a clearing company approved by the Authority at the port of entry. Alternatively they can do so via a freight forwarder approved by the Authority or via a courier company where the goods are delivered to the importer. As well as following standard procedures when importing for re-export, transit, or temporary admission, non-registered businesses must provide a guarantee for the tax due on the imported goods in question, either by entering a previously obtained e-Guarantee reference number on the e-Services portal or via a clearing company approved by the Authority at the port of entry. Alternatively they may do so via a freight forwarder approved by the Authority.
Qatar has approved a raft of draft Ministerial Decisions concerning the publication of the Official Gazette
Qatar’s Cabinet has approved a raft of draft Ministerial Decisions to implement Qatar Law No. 12/2016 concerning the Official Gazette. The Decisions determine electronic publication controls for the Official Gazette, the controls, procedures and value of the annual subscription in the Official Gazette, the publishing fees, the mechanism of sending copies to subscribers, the prices of their sale to non-subscribers and the method of saving the original copies of editions of the Official Gazette.
Abu Dhabi’s Global Market has announced amendments to its Data Protection Regulations have been approved. The amendments come into force on 1 February 2018. The amendments include updated defined terms, data breach notification timeframes and deadlines for notifications to the Registrar, along with expanded enforcement provisions. They expand the list of jurisdictions designated in the Regulations as providing an adequate level of protection of personal data. The additional jurisdictions include Andorra, the Dubai International Financial Centre and the Faroe Islands. The amendments follow the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Global Market Data Protection Office last month.
The UAE’s Coordination Committee has adopted Ministerial Decision No 1/8/2017 requiring expatriates looking to work in the UAE provide a good character certificate as a precondition for obtaining work permits from 4 February 2018. The Committee added the certificate should be issued by the country of the expatriate or the country in which they have resided for the last five years. The certificate should be endorsed by the UAE mission aboard or the endorsement offices of the Foreign and International Cooperation Ministry.
Kuwait’s Commerce and Industry Ministry and the country’s Central Bank of Kuwait are studying the implications of Bitcoin in the country. According to local newspaper reports, they discussed the market to reach a decision on the currency which is currently unregulated. Commerce and Industry Ministry officials also disclosed they have been monitoring the ads of local companies which promote Bitcoin dealing, following several companies posting social media ads to open trading accounts in return for commission.