Oman has signed the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. It aims to tackle offshore tax evasion and avoidance. It provides for all forms of administrative assistance in tax matters: exchanges of information on request, spontaneous exchange, automatic exchange, tax examinations abroad, simultaneous tax examinations and assistance in tax collection. It also guarantees extensive safeguards for protecting taxpayers’ rights. The Sultanate also signed the Common Reporting Standard Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement.
A Kuwaiti MP has submitted a draft amendment to the country’s law establishing the Kuwait Anti-Corruption Authority in terms of the provision on disclosing assets and liabilities. If approved, the amendment will mean MPs suspected of corruption will be immediately suspended and prohibited from contesting the next parliamentary election until a court verdict is issued. It will also mean that if a public prosecutor thinks they have collected sufficient evidence of the involvement of an MP in corruption, they will have to immediately inform the Speaker of the National Assembly and the relevant MP as well as refer the case to the appropriate court. The MP will then be suspended with full pay until a court verdict is issued or the current Parliamentary term ends.
Kuwait’s health ministry and the Health Assurance Hospitals Company (Dhaman) have started work to prepare a plan to implement new health insurance fees on expats by the beginning of 2020, according to official sources. The new fee would be KD 130 per expat working in the private sector and the same for each of their dependents. The sources said the new fee will cover medical and radiology tests and treatment. However, the new law does not specify who will be responsible for providing visitors with healthcare, but paying for healthcare of dependents will be the responsibility of the company the expat is registered with. The health ministry is expected to fully support insurance hospitals as part of its plan to force expats to receive medical treatment in private hospitals and leave public hospitals for citizens. Nonetheless, public hospitals are expected in exceptional circumstances to treat expats in emergency cases for specific fees which will be determined in related ministerial decisions.
Kuwait’s Trade and Industry Minister has issued a Decision including regulations for mobile vehicles. The Ministry said the Decision sets out five conditions for mobile vehicles operation including establishing a sole trader enterprise or a company with limited liability to operate mobile vehicles. The person establishing the company should be a natural person with Kuwaiti citizenship. The manager should be Kuwaiti and the number of vehicles shouldn’t exceed one vehicle for pensioners and two for those who operate them under Section 5 of the Social Insurance Law or those who work in the civil sector according to Section 3 of the Social Insurance Law.
Kuwait’s Court of Appeal has ruled a local bank could not increase the interest rate on a loan. The claim was brought by a lawyer who argued the bank breached the law when it deducted interest from her client loan before deducting the actual amount lent to her client. The lawyer argued the bank breached the Civil Law and Trade Law.
According to local newspaper reports, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister has issued a Ministerial Decision which will allow expatriates to transfer their visit visas to work visas. Under Kuwait Ministerial Decision No. 957/2019, visit visas can be transferred to residence visas for dependents arriving on family or tourist visit visas, domestic helpers, holders of valid residence who do not exceed stay of 6 months outside Kuwait and have to enter with a visit visa, those who enter for work and start procedure to get residency but have to leave for maximum one month and visitors of ministries and public authorities with a Government visit visa. It will cost 3 Dinars to get a visa on arrival, 10 Dinars a person a year to renew residence and 10 Dinars a person a year for dependent residency fees for spouses and children.
The Kuwaiti Government is consulting on exempting the wives of GCC nationals from a Citizenship Law which is currently under consideration. If approved, the Law will allow the spouses of Kuwaitis to apply for citizenship if they have been married for 18 years. Currently, they can apply after five years. The draft law has been referred to the Interior and Defence Committee of the country’s National Assembly. The country’s Parliament has already approved the amendment to Article 8 of Kuwait Emiri Decree No. 15/1959 on citizenship which states the wives of Kuwaiti men can obtain citizenship after 18 years of marriage instead of five.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry has brought to the attention of relevant officials to tighten control over markets and ban imports of Somali coal. The moves is as a result of fearsmoney earned from coal export in Somali may be indirectly used in financing terrorist activities. The ministry had received a letter from the United Nations on this subject. The steps have been taken as part of the United Nation’s work to remove financial resources which support crime.
Kuwait’s Social Affairs Ministry has announced a new Nurseries department will be established in the Ministry to manage and deal with the burgeoning number of nurseries in the country. The Deputy Undersecretary of Social Development and Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Family Affairs has said no new licenses will be issued until the new department is established. In addition, when a new license is issued new rules will be added or amended. A Ministerial Decision to this effect has recently been issued and was approved by the Civil Service Committee. Originally the Education Ministry was going to have responsibility for nurseries under a Decision but this was rejected. Under the new Decision, the Mother and Childhood Department will be replaced.
Kuwait’s Health Minister has announced a technical committee has been established to review patient safety procedures involving the use of anaesthetics during surgery and dental procedures. The announcement was made in a Ministerial Decision. It follows the death of a child at a dental clinic after they were given local anaesthetic during treatment. The committee will be led by the Ministry’s Undersecretary for technical affairs as well as the chairman of the anaesthesia departments’ council, the head of the anaesthesia college at Kuwait’s Institute for Medical Specialities, the director of quality and approval, the director of drugs registration and supervision, the director of dental medicine department and a senior legal specialist. It will review procedures and local and general anaesthetic policies in hospitals, specialist centres and clinics and will follow new internationals standards in anaesthesia. It will have one month to complete its work and will then submit a report with its findings and recommendations to the Health Minister.