Jordan’s Lower House has rejected the amended cybercrimes law. The law was redrafted by the Government in December 2018 to try and address criticism of it, particularly in relation to the definition of hate speech. The definition was amended to ‘every writing and every speech or action intended to provoke sectarian or racial sedition, advocate violence or foster conflict between followers of different religions and various components of the nation’.
Jordan’s Legislation and Opinion Bureau has published a draft Zakat law. If approved it will establish a General Zakat Organisation which will have its own financial and legal independence, a Board of Trustees and branches and offices across the country. A fund to succeed the Zakat Fund established under Jordan Law No. 8/1988 will also be established and that law and its regulations will be repealed. The Board’s members will be drawn from individuals recommended by the Cabinet, including the Awqaf, Islamic Affairs and Holy Sites Minister. It will identify Islamic banks in which Zakat funds are placed, make plans for expenditures, regulations and carry out other budgetary and administrative duties. It will also issue recommendations on Zakat payments. The law specifies the way in which Zakat funds will be spent. It will come into effect on its publication in the Official Gazette.
Jordan’s Cabinet has approved a code of conduct on disclosing conflicts of interest. The code sets out the duties and responsibilities of Ministers. It also defines principles obliging the president and members of the Cabinet to abide by the rule of law, transparency, disclosure of conflicts of interest, previous professional and trade relations, accountability, integrity, efficiency, effectiveness, justice and equal opportunities.
Ministers may accept ordinary official or honorary gifts and other forms of appreciation, but must not accept or seek any kind of gift, benefit or other allowance. Gifts to Ministers exceeding 50 Dinars will have to be disclosed. Any gifts exceeding 50 Dinars will be considered public funds and property to be transferred to the Department of General Supplies. Ministers will have to disclose to the PM any conflict of personal and professional interests. Ministers will not be able to use their influence to benefit themselves, family members, or other related bodies. In addition, Ministers may not use information gained while in office to benefit themselves after they have left. They must also wait one year after leaving office to contract with the Ministry they ran. Finally, Ministers and their relatives must not trade in shares of companies they are responsible for, or benefit from material and non-public information.
The Jordanian Cabinet has approved a draft law amending the 2014 Income Tax Law, Jordan Law No 34/2014. The draft law aims to address income tax avoidance and evasion. It is also aimed at improving tax administration, enhancing the voluntary commitment of taxpayers and expanding the tax base. It will now be sent to Jordan’s Lower House for consideration in an extraordinary session.
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.
The accession procedures of Jordan to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) with the Secretary General of WIPO have been completed and came into effect on 9 June 2017. Jordan becomes the 152nd member of the Treaty. Any PCT applications filed on or after the effective date will include the designation of Jordan. It will be possible to file international patent applications through the Jordanian Patent Office.
Jordan’s Securities Commission has announced it has started work to ensure the Securities Law can be implemented. The Commission is issuing and updating its legislation to ensure it complies with the 2017 Securities Law. They are also drafting governance rules for public companies and companies subject to the Commission’s control. This includes financial service companies. They are looking at investor protection regulations as well as rules on public possession and rules for mutual funds and companies. Solvency standards for financial service companies, the licensing of these companies and the professional accreditation of certified persons are also being considered. In addition, a regulation to transfer the regulatory and supervisory powers provided for under the Companies Law regarding Public Shareholding Companies and Private Shareholding Companies to the Commission and the instructions for licensing the securities trading market alongside conditions and requirements for the financial market to self-list are under review. Finally amendments to the disclosure instructions are being considered.