Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has approved the Saudi Central Bank Law. It means the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority will be renamed the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia. They will report to the King but will still have financial and administrative independence, in line with the international practices of central banks. All of the obligations and rights of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority will be transferred to the Central Bank.
Saudi Arabia’s Authority for Intellectual Property has announced it has launched a service to allow the registration of collective trademarks. The service has been launched in line with international practices. Those interested in using the service should visit the Authority’s website to register.
Saudi Arabia’s Industry and Mineral Resources Ministry has announced it has published draft implementing regulations to the Mining Investment Law. They have launched a public consultation on them and this ends on 30 November. The Ministry will then review the proposals and feedback and make any appropriate changes. The announcement follows the report last week that the authorities are looking to accept new mining license applications next month.
The Vice Minister for Mining Affairs at Saudi Arabia’s Industry, and Mineral Resources Ministry has announced the Mining Investment Law will come into force next year. It is aimed at revolutionising the Kingdom’s mining sector and boosting its contribution to GDP by more than 240 billion Riyals. It is also aimed at reducing imports by 37 billion Riyals and creating 200,000 jobs by 2030. Under the Law, a mining fund will also be established and will provide sustainable finance for the sector as well as support geological survey and exploration programmes. Experts have valued mineral resources in the Kingdom at five trillion Riyals which the Law is aimed at tapping into. Finally, a National Geological Database has been set up to support the sector. It will provide access to 10,000 mining reports and 80 years of data.
Saudi Arabia’s Food and Drug Authority has urged businesses to comply with the anti-Coronavirus rules. The call followed the referring of five businesses to the Interior Ministry for non-compliance. The violations included a lack of commitment to safety instructions like taking employee and customers’ temperatures before they entered the entity, failing to wear face-masks and providing sanitisers in designated places. The Authority has issued a detailed guidebook on the measures food, drugs, cosmetic and medical equipment entities have to take to comply with the anti-Coronavirus rules.
Fintech Saudi has announced it has launched a new Fintech System Directory. It is part of the Organisation’s moves to develop this system in the Kingdom. The free directory will be publicly available on Fintech Saudi’s website. It provides a comprehensive database of the key support services and partners Fintech companies in the Kingdom may need. It is divided into five main categories. These include investors, financial institutions, infrastructure providers, service providers and IT providers. It also provides the details of 32 companies. These details include their contact information, services which can be provided and any exclusive offers or discounts which can be provided to Fintech entities. The launch of the directory follows applications for the Fintech Accelerator being accepted from October this year. The Accelerator offers an intensive three-month entrepreneurship programme which is aimed at helping Fintech communities grow and expand their businesses. Fintech Saudi will also launch Fintech Tour 20 which will be a series of high-profile events to increase public engagement in the Fintech industry at the end of next month.
Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers has approved an amendment to Article 14 of the Kingdom’s Anti-Bribery Law. Under the amendment, the Interior Minister, following a recommendation from the committee consisting of the Interior Ministry, the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry and the Supervision and Anti-Corruption Authority to issue a decision to reconsider the ancillary penalties after five years have passed from the date of the end of the implementation of the original punishment. The Interior Minister will approve the remit of the committee’s work.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Prosecution has issued a clarification on the Kingdom’s Wiretapping Law. Under the clarification, correspondence, letters, publications, parcels or phone conversations cannot be intercepted or monitored unless it is authorised by the Law and the Public Prosecution have given a warrant or permission in line with Article 57 of Saudi Arabia Cabinet Decision No. 200/1422 (the Criminal Procedure Law). Even in these circumstances, monitoring should only be carried out for up to ten days initially although this can be renewed and in connection with a crime which has actually occurred.
Saudi Arabia’s’ King has approved the introduction of a new property deal tax. They issued a Royal Order to this effect and the tax will be levied at 5%. The Government will pay the costs of the new Real Estate Transaction Tax up to one million Riyals for Saudi citizens buying their first home. Property deals will also be exempt from VAT according to the Royal Order. It is part of the Kingdom’s response to the adverse economic effects of Coronavirus but is also aimed at encouraging Saudi citizens to own their own homes and supporting the residential and commercial property sector.
Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Authority has launched a public consultation on insurance policies for those who are involved in car accidents abroad and die or are injured. The proposal is for insurance companies to offer additional coverage including covering deaths, injuries and medical costs for insured people or drivers in accidents which happen outside the Kingdom. The aim of the law is to regulate the contractual relationship between an insured individual and an insurance company.