This Update is produced on a monthly basis. It provides an update on new legislation in certain Middle East countries (Egypt, Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, the Sultanate of Oman and the United Arab Emirates) where Dentons has offices. We also include Lebanon updates from our associate firm in Beirut.

This Update is not an exhaustive list of all new legislation, but a summary of new legislation that we feel may be significant for clients. Should you require further detail on any of the laws referred to in this Update, please contact the relevant managing partner. Please note that, in some jurisdictions, new laws may come into effect which have not been officially published in the publications we have reviewed as mentioned below. Also, some of the official publications in these jurisdictions are not published on a regular basis.

Egypt

New legislation is published weekly in the Official Gazette.

Ministry of Trade and Industry Decree No. 873 of the year 2013

Amends some provisions of the statute of rules enforcing the import and export law and the system of procedures of the imported and exported commodity examination and control.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin, issued on 17 December 2013, published on 19 December 2013 and enforced as of the day following its date of publication. 

Ministry of Investment Decree No. 137 of the year 2013

Amends certain provisions of Decree No. 231 of the year 2008 on the determination of brokerage commissions, securities listing fees and service charges for stock exchange transactions.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin, issued on 24 December 2013, published on 26 December 2013 and enforced as of the day following its date of publication.

Decree Law of the President of the Republic No. 163 of the year 2013

Regarding Reconciliation in the tax disputes existing before courts between the tax authority and taxpayers.

Official Journal, issued and published on 11 December 2013 and enforced as of the day following its date of publication.

Decree Law No. 164 of the year 2013

Amends some provisions of the Income Tax Law promulgated by Law No. 91 of the year 2005.

Official Journal, issued and published on 12 December 2013 and enforced as of the day following its date of publication.

Prime Minister Decree No. 1478 of the year 2013

On Forming a Committee to study the utilisation of black sands.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin, issued on 17 December 2013, published on 17 December 2013, and enforced as of the date of publication.

Decree No. 777 of the year 2013

Amends Decree No. 209 of the year 2009 promulgating the Executive Regulations of Law No. 38 of the year 1977 on Regulating the Tourist Companies.

Al-Wakaye Al-Mesreya / Government Bulletin, published on 18 December 2013 and enforced as of the day following its date of publication.

Decree Law No. 160 of the year 2013

Amends certain provisions of the Traffic Law promulgated by Law No. 66 of the year 1973.

Official Journal, issued and published on 3 December 2013 and enforced as of the day following its date of publication.

Saudi Arabia

Royal Decree No. (M/52) Dated 15/11/1433 H (21 September 2013)

Approves the Law of Protection against Tort as attached hereto is hereby approved; and

His Highness the Vice President of the Council of Ministers, the Ministers, and Heads of Independent Concerned Bodies, each to the extent of his jurisdiction, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. (M/3) Dated 22/01/1435 H (25 November 2013)

Approves the Law of Procedures before the Board of Grievances as attached hereto is hereby approved, subject to the following:

  1. Actions related to rights established under Military Service Law and arising prior to the effective date of this Law will not be heard after the lapse of five years from the effective date thereof; and
  2. Deadlines set forth in this Law for hearing actions shall apply to the deadlines that have not become overdue prior to the effective date of this Law.

The effectiveness of this Law shall be without prejudice to such implementing work mechanism of the Judiciary Law and of the Board of Grievances Law as approved under Royal Decree No. M/78 dated 19/09/1428 H in respect of transition periods.

His Highness the Vice President of the Council of Ministers, the Ministers, and Heads of Independent Concerned Bodies, each to the extent of his jurisdiction, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. (M/2) Dated 22/01/1435 H (25 November 2013)

Approving the Law of Criminal Procedures as attached hereto is hereby approved, provided that the provisions thereof shall apply to criminal actions remaining unresolved and to the procedures not completed prior to the effective date thereof, except for the following:

  1. Articles amending jurisdiction in respect of actions brought before the effective date of this Law;
  2. Articles amending deadlines in respect of a deadline commencing before the effective date of this Law; and
  3. Provisions creating or revoking methods of objection under this Law in respect of conclusive judgments issued before the effective date of this Law.

The effectiveness of this Law shall be without prejudice to such implementing work mechanism of the Judiciary Law and of the Board of Grievances Law as approved under Royal Decree No. M/78 dated 19/09/1428 H in respect of transition periods, and it shall, as well, be without prejudice to the provisions of Clause "Fifth" of Royal Decree No. M/4 dated 05/01/1433 H.

Where, due to multiplicity of judgments and decisions, the adjudged disciplinary punishments become multiple, the Supreme Court shall have the authority to issue the required punishment judgment in accordance with such guidelines as established by the General Panel of the Supreme Court.

No criminal action may be brought against the Minister or against he who occupies the rank of a Minister or he who was appointed as a Minister or occupied the rank of a Minister except after bringing a submittal to that effect before the King for his determination thereof; nor may such action be heard after sixty (60) days from the date on which the claimed right has risen. The Implementing Regulations for this Law shall specify the provisions relating thereto.

His Highness the Vice President of the Council of Ministers, the Ministers, and Heads of Independent Concerned Bodies, each to the extent of his jurisdiction, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Royal Decree No. (M/1) Dated 22/01/1435 H (25 November 2013)

Approving the Law of Procedures before Sharia Courts as attached hereto is hereby approved, subject to the following:

  1. The provisions of this Law shall apply to actions remaining unresolved and to the procedures not completed prior to the effective date thereof, except for the following Articles:
  1. Articles amending jurisdiction in respect of actions brought before the effective date of this Law;
  2. Articles amending deadlines in respect of a deadline commencing before the effective date of this Law; and
  3. Provisions creating or revoking methods of objection under this Law in respect of conclusive judgments issued before the effective date of this Law.

 

  1. This Law shall cancel Sections Three and Four of the Commercial Court Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. 32 dated 15/10/1350 H and it shall, as well, cancel the following words that are included in the Commercial Court Law:

 

  1. The words "… where the contractor was committed to the provision of such supplies and instruments as necessary thereto", which words are contained in Article 2(d); and
  2. The words "… Further, actions relating to real estate and to real estate leases are not considered part of commercial businesses", which words are contained in Article 3,

effective from the date of creation of Commercial Courts and their exercising the prerogatives thereof.

  1. This Law shall cancel Section XIV of the Labour Law promulgated by Royal Decree No. M/51 dated 23/08/1426 H regarding the Commissions for the Settlement of Labour Disputes; and the words "Labour Court" or "Labour Courts" shall replace the words "the Commission for the Settlement of Labour Disputes" or "the Commissions for the Settlement of Labour Disputes", as the case may be, wherever mentioned in the other sections of the Labour Law, effective from the date of creation of the Labour Courts and their exercising the prerogatives thereof.
  2. This Law shall revoke the provisions set forth in the Law of Concentration of the Responsibilities of Sharia Judiciary issued under Supreme Authentication No. 109 dated 24/01/1372 H, provided, however, that provisions relating to authentication of acknowledgments and contracts and the provisions relating to the records and registrations and to the prerogatives and authorities of the Records Officers and of other judiciary assistants shall remain applicable until the issuance of regulations relating to the same.

The effectiveness of this Law and of the contents of Article "First" hereof shall be without prejudice to such implementing work mechanism of the Judiciary Law and of the Board of Grievances Law as approved under Royal Decree No. M/78 dated 19/09/1428 H in respect of transition periods.

Subject to the implementing work mechanism of the Judiciary Law and of the Board of Grievances Law, the Supreme Court shall continue to have the prerogatives of the Permanent Panel of the Supreme Judicial Council as set forth in such Laws as issued prior to the effective date of the Law of Procedures before Sharia Courts and the Law of Criminal Procedures and to apply the provisions and procedures set forth in both Laws in respect of judgments issued in lawsuits that are within the jurisdiction of the Court of Cassation and that are being undertaken by the Courts of Appeal.

His Highness the Vice President of the Council of Ministers, the Ministers, and Heads of Independent Concerned Bodies, each to the extent of his jurisdiction, shall put this Decree of ours into effect.

Sultanate of Oman

Sultani Decree No. 59/2013

Amends some provisions of the Law for the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SD 22/2007).

Promulgated on 30 October 2013    Effective on day following publication

Sultani Decree No. 60/2013 - Significant Change to the Oman Tender Law

Following its publication in the Official Gazette on 3 November 2013, Sultani Decree 60/2013 has introduced a significant change to the Tender Law (promulgated by Sultani Decree 36/2008 as amended). Simply put, it appears that wholly government-owned companies are no longer subject to the Tender Law and its regulations.

Article 2 of the Tender Law sets out the government entities to which the Tender Law applies. It is amended by Article 1 of SD 60/2013, to delete the reference to wholly government-owned companies.

However, it is important to note that Article 2 of SD 60/2013 states that "the provisions of the Tender Law shall continue to apply to companies with independent juristic personality that are wholly owned by the government until tender regulations for such companies are issued after co-ordination with the competent authorities".

This would appear to indicate that suitable replacement internal tendering regulations should be put in place before the Tender Law procedures cease to apply; however, for now it is unclear who "the competent authorities" are and what procedures should be followed in order to comply with Article 2.

Article 2 of SD 60/2013 also refers to internal tender units (or committees) carrying out the competencies of the Tender Board "during this period". Assuming that the period in question is the time required to co-ordinate with the competent authorities, internal tender committees should continue to apply the Tender Law until internal tendering regulations are in place; however, it seems that they are no longer obliged to float tenders via the Tender Board.

It is unclear whether government companies may still refer to the Tender Board for guidance. Certain government companies may need to create internal tender committees, or to review their internal procedures for higher value procurement spending. SD 60/2013 and the Tender Law refer to  companies which are "wholly owned by the government"; however, many government companies are not wholly owned by the government, or may be indirectly wholly owned, through other shareholdings.

Article 15 of the Tender Law sets out the financial threshold below which internal tender committees of government entities may exercise the authority of the Tender Board. The other main amendment to the Tender Law in Article 1 of SD 60/2013 is to increase this threshold from RO 1 million to RO 3 million. This is relevant for those government entities to which the Tender Law still applies.

Many more issues will be raised as government companies and their suppliers assess the impact to their business, and as government companies consider their internal tendering regulations.

Sultani Decree No. 61/2013

Amends some provisions of the Social Insurance Law (SD 72/1991).

Promulgated on 31 October 2013    Effective on 1 July 2014

Sultani Decree No. 64/2013

Ratifies the Sultanate's accession to the UN convention against corruption.

Promulgated on 20 November 2013    Effective on promulgation

Sultani Decree 79/2013

Issues the bylaws of the Special Economic Zone at Al Duqm.  The bylaws deal with the capital requirements of investors, taxation, customs duties and other matters.  A "one stop shop" will be established to assist investors in obtaining licences, permits and visas, and other authorisations required to establish their operations in Al Duqm.

Promulgated on 26 December 2013    Effective on day following publication

Ministry of Finance, Decision No. 375/2013

Amends some of the provisions of the Implementing Regulations (MD 118/2008) of the Finance Law promulgated by Sultani Decree 47/98.  The Manual for the Classification and Accounts for the State Budget has been renamed as The Manual for the State Budget and is annexed to the Decision.

Promulgated on 24 December 2013    Effective on 1 January 2014

Turkey

New legislation is published daily in the Official Gazette.

Regulation on the Amendment of the Regulation on the Procedures and Principles of the Sale and Presentation of the Tobacco Products and Alcoholic Beverages (Official Gazette dated 3 December 2013 and numbered 28840)

Amends certain articles of the existing Regulation and sets out the date (30 June 2014) to deliver the sale certificate of the sellers obtained before 1 January 2014 and purchasing tobacco products together with alcoholic beverages for the sale thereof by retail or wholesale, to the relevant authorities.

Promulgated on 3 December 2013     Effective from 1 January 2014

Regulation on the Stock Brokerage Purchasing and Selling in the Mercantile Exchange (Official Gazette dated 6 December 2013 and numbered 28843)

Sets out the principles and guidelines regarding the qualities of brokers who are natural or legal persons entitled to act in the spot market, the establishment procedures, duties and authorities of the brokers having the legal entity, the working procedures, rights thereof and the rules to be respected by themselves and administrative sanctions for whom breaching these rules and any other issues related to the conduct of brokerage.
 
Promulgated on 6 December 2013    Effective from 6 December 2013
 
Regulation on the Management and Exploitation of Private Fund Assets (Official Gazette dated 6 December 2013 and numbered 28843)

States the procedures and principles regarding the management and exploitation of private fund assets, based on the authorities set forth pursuant to the Capital Market Law dated 6 December 2012 and numbered 6362.

Promulgated on 6 December 2013     Effective from 6 December 2013

Communiqué on the Establishment and Business Principles of Investment Enterprises (Official Gazette dated 17 December 2013 and numbered 28854)

Sets out the procedures and principles regarding the establishment, the founder, partner and staff, entering into service, duties, out-of-centre organisations, service procurement, cessation of activities and securities of the investment enterprises providing the investment services, activities and other supplementary services.

Promulgated on 17 December 2013    Effective from 1 July 2014

Communiqué on Right to Leave and General Principles Regarding Substantial Transactions (Official Gazette dated 24 December 2013 and numbered 28861)

Aims to determine (i) the mandatory procedures and principles for taking resolutions, making substantial transactions (ii) the exercise of right to leave regarding substantial transactions and (iii) procedures and principles for mandatory bid regarding the substantial transactions of publicly held companies.

Promulgated on 24 December 2013    Effective from 24 December 2013

Communiqué on Registered Capital System (Official Gazette dated 25 December 2013 and numbered 28862)

Sets out the procedures and principles of entering and leaving the registered capital system for publicly held companies and the requirements to be followed by the publicly held companies. 

Promulgated on 25 December 2013     Effective from 25 December 2013

Communiqué on Required Reserves (Official Gazette dated 25 December 2013 and numbered 28862)

Sets out the procedures and principles of required reserves which shall be kept by the Central Bank of the Republic of Turkey. Banks and finance companies which are incorporated or opened a branch in Turkey shall be subject to this Communiqué.

Promulgated on 25 December 2013    Effective from 17 January 2014

Communiqué on Merger and Demerger (II-23.2) (Official Gazette dated 28 December 2013 and numbered 28865)

Sets out the procedures and principles of merger and demerger transactions for publicly held companies.

Promulgated on 28 December 2013    Effective from 28 December 2013

General Communiqué on Tax Procedure Law (Item no. 431) (Official Gazette dated 28 December 2013 and numbered 28866)

Sets out the new procedures and principles for creating records electronically for the aim of properly conducting the tax audit as a result of the developing technology.

Promulgated on 29 December 2013       Effective from 1 July 2014

United Arab Emirates

Federal Gazette published on 28 November 2013, Issue No. 556

UAE Central Bank

Regulations introducing limitations on residential mortgage loans, effective 28 December 2013.

Federal Decrees

Federal Decree No. (123) of 2013 regarding the formation of the Board of Directors of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

Federal Decree No. (137) of 2013 ratifying the security agreement between the countries of the Gulf Co-operation Council.

Federal Decree No. (147) of 2013 ratifying the agreement between the Governments of the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland regarding the transfer of sentenced persons.

Various Decrees ratifying agreements in respect of air services between the UAE and the Republic of Mali, Colombia, the Republic of Botswana, the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Republic of Ukraine and the Republic of Senegal, respectively. 

Cabinet Decrees

Cabinet Decree No. 29 (2013) adopting regulations in respect of small cargo vessels which are not included in the International Maritime Conventions of the GCC.

Cabinet Decree No. (33) regulating the organisational structure of the Insurance Authority. 

Ministerial Decree

Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Decree No. (212) of 2013, regarding the regulation of distance education (E- learning) at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Administrative Decrees - Insurance Authority

Decision No. (15) of 2013 regulating the insurance brokerage system.

Decision No. (16) of 2013 concerning the procedures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism in connection with insurance activities.