Senior officials at Bahrain’s Transportation and Telecommunications Ministry have announced a new Commercial Maritime Law is being considered. The aim is to boost the country’s maritime transportation and logistics sector and user experience at its Khalifa Bin Salman Port. It forms part of the Ministry’s wider maritime transport strategy.
This week the spotlight is on legal and regulatory developments in Qatar, where the country’s Advisory Council has discussed a draft law to regulate the investment of non-Qatari capital in the country. The Council referred the draft law to the Finance and Economic Affairs Committee for further consideration and feedback. The Council also reviewed a request for a discussion on food security.
Elsewhere, the Advisory Council has reviewed several draft laws including a draft law on the organisation of business events. The Council also considered draft laws on establishing a national tourism council and a draft law to regulate tourism. The Council submitted its recommendations to the Advisory Council.
This week the spotlight is on employment law developments in Saudi Arabia, where the Kingdom’s Labour and Social Development Minister, Ali Al-Ghafees has announced the Ministry has amended the penalties related to the Labour Law regulations.
Employers will be fined 10,000 Riyals if they violate the holiday entitlement of employees. They will also be fined 10,000 Riyals if they allow a non-Saudi employee to work in a profession other than the one specified in their work permit which is a breach of Article 38 of the Labour Law. In addition, if employers don’t open a file for the firm with the Labour Office or update the firm’s data they will be fined 10,000 Riyals which is a breach of Article 15 of the Labour Law. An employer who fails to submit the Wage Protection file to the Labour Office monthly will be fined 10,000 Riyals. If a firm fails to meet health and occupational safety requirements for its staff, they will be fined 15,000 Riyals. The fine will be doubled for repeat offences. Employers will be fined 2,000 Riyals if they keep an employee’s passport, residency permit or medical insurance card without their consent and 10,000 Riyals for failing to have organisational regulations in place or complying with them. The fine will have to be settled within a month of being issued and if it is not it will be doubled.
Elsewhere the country’s Shoura Council has approved a recommendation for a 40-hour work week. The Council also approved an additional paid day for employees working in activities earmarked for Saudisation. The Council made the decisions last week.
Oman’s Shoura Council has referred a study on private investment in the health sector to the Council of Ministers. The study focuses on the challenges faced by private investment as well as the incentives which should be offered to encourage investment. The Council also referred a study from the Economic and Financial Committee on the obstacles faced by the private sector, the free zones and the incentives required to increase their participation in Gross Domestic Product. The study focuses on the most important economic sectors and the desired partnership between the public and private sectors. It also highlights the importance of reviewing the relevant legislation and legal framework.
The UAE’s President has issued a Road Tolls Law to ease traffic congestion. The Transport Department will determine where the toll gates will go and the amounts to pay. They will also set the operation times and will collect the fees. Its recommendations will be sent to the Executive Council to approve. Abu Dhabi Law No. 17/2017 came into effect on 31 December. Ambulances, the armed forces, civil defence vehicles, public buses and motorcycles will be exempt. Those who fail to comply with it will be fined upto 10,000 AED.
This week the spotlight is on banking and finance developments in the UAE, where the UAE’s Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group which represents businesses engaged in money exchange and remittances in the country has announced it has launched the second edition of the Anti-money laundering (AML) Standardisation Manual in Dubai.
It was launched in 2015 to encourage exchange houses in the UAE to comply with Central Bank Regulations. When the Central Bank released a new set of Exchange house regulations, the Group worked with KPMG to review and redraft the manual in line with the new regulations. The Second Edition is an updated version of the Group’s first standardisation manual. The new edition states clear guidelines for the sale and purchase of foreign currencies and traveller’s cheques, handling remittance operations in different currencies and paying wages through the Wages Protection System, amongst other things.
Elsewhere the country’s Federal Tax Authority has confirmed businesses only have to use their Tax Registration Numbers and don’t need a tax certificate to carry out business. The Authority added tax registration certificates cannot be printed or downloaded with a provisional Tax Registration Number. The Authority’s website allows individuals to verify the Tax Registration Number of any company registered with the Authority for VAT purposes.
The official spokesperson for Saudi Arabia’s Cooperative Health Insurance Council, Yaser Almuarik has announced health insurance policies sold by health insurance companies under the C name are for marketing purposes only and are not recognised by the insurance system. He added the system does not permit insurance companies to issue policies with benefits which are less than those in the unified policy recognised by the Council. Companies should issue policies which offer the same services offered by the unified policy and if the service is not available in a certain hospital the patient should be referred to another hospital.
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.