Saudi Arabia’s Finance Minister has announced they have amended the Implementing Regulations of Saudi Arabia Cabinet Decision No. 649/1440. The amendments include is a clause on extraordinary circumstances which include pandemics like Coronavirus. It will ease the procurement process during times like this. They will come into force on 24 April 2020. The amendments include allowing the committee for opening the bids to open the financial bids and allow for confiscating a guarantee and revoking a contract if the contractor left before they signed the contract and following issuing a notice to them. Previously the charter only allowed for cancelling the award decision. Under the amendments, prior qualification procedures can be done for work over 50 million Riyals in value. Previously the charter permitted performing post qualification procedures if a prior one had not been completed.
Dr Walid Alsamaani, the Justice Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, has issued directives to launch a platform for electronic auctioning which will enables customers to participate in judicial auctions without the need to attend them in person. The platform will be rolled out in Riyadh first then will be expanded to cover i other cities in the kingdom. The platform will enable courts to manage the liquidation of fixed and transferrable assets and offer them for sale electronically. Customers will be to participate in these auction directly which support access to equal opportunities.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Juridical Council has announced court hearings in the Kingdom are postponed. The aim is to tackle the spread of Coronavirus in the Kingdom. The hearings are cancelled until further notice except for urgent case hearings.
Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council has approved a draft Commercial Courts Law and their procedures. Under the law, if approved commercial departments will be established in public courts in all areas and provinces which don’t have commercial courts. Appeals against decisions issued by these courts will be before the appeal courts located in the nearest commercial court until a commercial court is established in the same area. The law is aimed at reducing litigation time and giving lawyers and other relevant parties’ bigger roles. It also aims to provide an environment for commercial cases which understands commercial conventions and conditions.
The new real estate ownership law in Saudi Arabia allows for an independent ownership deed for each individual unit to be issued. It also allows for associations to manage the property affairs if the number of the allocated units in one joint property is more than three to be established. The association can be a representative of the owners in the matters related to communal areas. In addition, landlords who have a deed which meets the Sharia and legal requirements can also construct buildings and allocate them into independent units and issue an ownership deed for each unit.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Judicial Council has approved a number of procedures necessary for the departments responsible for considering cases related to financial and administrative corruption. The procedures are aimed at reflecting recently issued relevant regulations. They also directed 81 judges to work in these courts and support the appeal courts and courts of first instance. In addition, the Council is considering increasing the number of labour tribunals in the courts and allocating departments to consider human trafficking cases.
Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Agency has issued a Decision to local banks informing them officials responsible for investigating bankruptcy should be given access to check bank accounts under the Bankruptcy Law and its Implementing Regulations. The Decision was issued after a request from the Justice Ministry to fulfil the requests made by courts responsible for considering bankruptcy cases. The Decision says banks should adhere to the law and should allow officials to obtain the details and follow the necessary procedures related to bank accounts of indebted individuals such as bank statements and enquiries related to their accounts.
Saudi Arabia’s Monetary Agency has announced it has launched a draft law for updating the rules regulating money exchange businesses in the Kingdom. Those rules were issued by Saudi Arabia Ministerial Decision No. 1357/1432. The Agency has called on all interested parties to send in their comments and feedback before 20 February. The aim is to help the sector develop.
As part of these proposed changes, the Agency is also understood to be considering issuing money exchange service licenses to foreign companies. They will be licensed by the Investment Authority. A draft law to update the money exchange business rules highlights the Agency’s efforts to allow companies with no less than two million capital to offer the service.
Saudi Arabia’s Commerce and Investment Ministry has called on the public and interested parties to give their feedback on draft Implementing Regulations to the Kingdom’s Commercial Franchise Law by 20 February 2020. The Ministry said the Regulations aim to encourage franchise businesses and set strong foundations for their activities. It also aims to ensure details about the rights, duties, and risks related to each opportunity are properly disclosed.
Saudi Arabia’s King has issued a Royal Decree to amend the tax objection procedures for income tax, excise tax and VAT. The Decree states ‘Anyone against whom a decision has been issued by the commission may object to it in accordance with the provisions of the work rules of the committees for adjudication of tax violations and disputes’. It applies to Article 66(a) of the Income Tax Law, Article 49 of the VAT Law and Article 27 of the Excise Tax Law. The Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers and heads of relevant independent bodies have been instructed to implement it as appropriate.