Bahrain’s King has directed the Prime Minister to expand quota preferences given to SMEs in Government procurement and tenders and in service facilities in Government entities. The Cabinet has decided the current quota of 10% of companies bidding for provision of Government services should be expanded to include tenders. The same percentage will apply. The Cabinet supported the measure following a review of the memorandum submitted by the Ministerial Legal and Legislative Affairs Committee.
Two Parliamentary investigations have been launched into illegal abortion clinics in Bahrain. According to reports, houses and apartments are being used to perform illegal abortions and hymen reconstruction surgeries. The reports have added those carrying out these procedures are charging between 300 and 500 Dinars each time. The Parliamentary investigations will focus on the smuggling of medicines like Cytotec to assist abortions. Under the existing law, abortions can only be carried out at authorised hospitals if a woman’s life is in danger and if three consultant doctors approve it.
Bahrain’s Cabinet has approved draft amendments to the Commercial Companies Law promulgated by Bahrain Decree-Law No. 21/2001 proposed by Parliament, following a recommendation from the Ministerial Committee for Legal and Legislative Affairs. The amendment will facilitate procedures for attending General Assembly meetings on behalf of partners using special power of attorney, without having to be authenticated by the relevant authorities.
Bahrain has agreed to allow companies with foreign capital to own 100% of exploring for oil and natural gas operations in the Kingdom. The approval was contained in Bahrain Edict No. 10/2019 which has been issued by the King. The conditions for these permits include a requirement for foreign parent company to sign or be in the last stages of signing an exploration agreement with the Bahraini Government.
The Chairman of the Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence and National Security of Bahrain’s Council of Representatives has announced a draft law to increase the penalties for social media misuse is under consideration. It is part of Government attempts to clampdown on this misuse. Among other things, social media misuse covers defaming someone, insulting someone or spreading rumours.
Bahrain’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority has launched a model contract for use between real estate sellers and brokers. The CEO of the Authority said it is not mandatory to use the model contract and is intended for use as a unified model for mediation contracts, with more items to be added in line with the relevant regulations. The model was prepared following consultation with the relevant parties including real estate brokers and sellers. The Authority is going to prepare more models and guidelines in the coming months, covering other types of real estate transactions.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council have approved four laws including a new Providing Cloud Computing Services to Foreign Parties Law. It is aimed at international cloud providers who have shown an interest in establishing in the Kingdom following the launch of Amazon Web Services. The Council also approved a Letters and Electronic Transactions Law which will establish a new framework for associated banking and financing services.
Bahraini MPs have approved an amendment to the 2001 Non-Bahrainis Ownership of Property and Plots Law which will mean expatriate property investors will not be able to own property in areas which aren’t designated tourism or investment zones. Previously foreigners were able to buy property anywhere in the Kingdom. It follows concerns Bahrainis were being priced out of the market. The Shoura Council will now consider the amendment.
Bahrain’s Central Bank has announced it has issued draft insurance aggregator rules. Insurance aggregators are intermediaries with an insurance broker’s license who operate an online platform, whether hosted on an Internet website or available as a smart device application which provides price comparisons and facilitates the purchase of insurance policies from several insurance licensees. By introducing insurance aggregators, customers will be able to find and choose insurance quotes from several insurance companies under a single electronic platform or mobile device application, instead of obtaining quotes individually and purchase insurance online from a single insurance company. The move is the first step towards Insuretech which is a technology-led transformation of the insurance sector. Copies of the directive are available on the Central Bank Website.
Bahrain’s Shoura Council has approved a draft law to regulate hygiene, following Bahrain Royal Decree No. 86/2014. It will apply to waste and its transportation and disposal. It will also cover waste dumping and depositing waste in incorrect facilities. In addition, it will ban abandoning scrap vehicles on streets and leaving vehicles in public streets and squares to sell. Finally it will allow waste to only be transported by licensed companies and institutions.