GCC Regulatory Digest 2017

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The year 2017 witnessed streak of reforms and regulations wide across GCC countries and wider Mena Region. The race for major economic reforms across .....

Summary

The year 2017 witnessed streak of reforms and regulations wide across GCC countries and wider Mena Region. The race for major economic reforms across all the GCC countries amid low oil prices and strong ambitions for creating Strong non-oil economy led to many policy and regulatory reforms.

​Economic reforms agenda was at the top slot of national politics in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain while Oman and Qatar Kuwait had big focus on labor polices and governance issues. 2017 witnessed multiple reforms in the GCC countries especially in economic, social and defense sectors.

However, agreement to introduce Value Added Tax (VAT) by all the GCC emerges as one of the biggest economic reform announced in the GCC countries in recent years. It is also an attempt to balance fiscal side of their respective economies and reduce oil revenue dependence as part of GCC vision to diversify economies from oil.

Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain launched host of market and Islamic finance related regulations, improving markets, sectors and funding opportunities for the private sector. Kuwait and Qatar embarked on journeys towards reforming domestic labor markets and set out new guide lines for hiring foreign labor. Oman largely focused on domestic issues and labor market apart from approval to VAT.

Thematic overtone for all reforms and programs aimed at providing much needed boost for diversifying economy and providing fiscal support, along with two of the most surprising reforms announced in Saudi Arabia, lifting of ban on cinemas and female driving ban.

All reforms and policy initiatives that GCC countries witnessed over the year reflects moves towards major economic and social transformation in the coming years ahead. National governments in respective GCC countries aims for more diverse economies, bigger local talent pools, stronger markets, more innovation, effective governance and faster economic growth.

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GCC Regulatory Digest 2017

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