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Qatar’s new minimum wage enters into force

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Qatar’s non-discriminatory minimum wage comes into force, applying to all workers, of all nationalities, in all sectors, including domestic workers.

Legislation adopted last year provided a six-month transition period for employers to prepare for the new minimum thresholds. Qatar is the first country in the region to introduce a non-discriminatory minimum wage, which is part of a series of historical reforms of the country’s labour laws.

In addition to the minimum monthly basic wage of 1,000 Qatari riyals QAR (275 USD), the legislation stipulates that employers must pay allowances of at least QAR 300 and QAR 500 for food and housing respectively, if they do not provide workers with these directly.

More than 400,000 workers or 20 per cent of the private sector will benefit directly from the new law. “This wage increase will also improve the lives of a large number of family members in the workers’ countries of origin who rely on the remittances sent every month,” said Max Tuñón from the ILO Project Office in Qatar.

To ensure compliance with the minimum wage, the Government is enhancing the detection of violations, enacting swifter penalties and further strengthening the capacity of labour inspectors.

The minimum wage legislation was adopted following a comprehensive analysis carried out by the Government of Qatar and the ILO, in consultation with national and international experts and workers and employers from different sectors of the economy. The legislation also established a Minimum Wage Commission that will review the impact and application of the minimum wage, and propose adjustments, in consultation with different government bodies, experts, workers and employers.

This law follows other major reforms, including the dismantling of the kafala or sponsorship system. In particular, workers are no longer required to obtain an exit permit to leave the country, or a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to change jobs. These measures will likely make Qatar a more attractive destination for global talent and investment.

“Some obstacles still must be addressed for more effective labour mobility, but we’ve observed a large number of workers moving to new jobs. While 75 per cent of the workers who have applied to change jobs have already completed the process, the remainder are currently being processed”, said Max Tuñón. “Companies across all industries have also benefited from being able to recruit workers locally, reducing the costs and risks related with cross-border recruitment.”

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Finance

Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2: New requirements for inbound air shipments to the EU

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From 1 March 2023, all freight forwarders, air carriers, express couriers, and postal operators transporting goods to or through the European Union (including Norway and Switzerland) will be required to submit advance cargo information in the form of a complete entry summary declaration (ENS), under the second phase of the EU’s new customs pre-arrival security and safety programme – Import Control System 2 (ICS2) Release 2.

Economic operators’ responsibility to comply with ICS2 Release 2 requirements

From 1 March 2023, economic operators involved in handling, sending, shipping and transporting cargo, express or postal consignments to or via the EU by air have to comply with new advance data reporting requirements for pre-loading and pre-arrival customs risk assessments.

By collecting data about all goods entering the EU prior to their loading and arrival, ICS2 supports effective risk-based customs controls while facilitating free flow of legitimate trade across the EU’s external borders. ICS2 will simplify the movement of goods between customs offices at the first point of entry and final destination in the EU. For economic operators, ICS2 will streamline requests for additional information and pre-departure risk screening by customs authorities.

In addition to air carriers’ ENS filing responsibilities under the multiple filing regime of Release 2, freight forwarders, express couriers, and postal operators will also be legally responsible for providing data. They either have to share it with the air carriers, who will then complete the ENS filing requirements, or submit the data directly to ICS2. Postal operators and express couriers, who have previously been declaring partial information regarding inbound shipments (under ICS2 Phase 1), will now also be required to coordinate with their air carrier to submit all required data.  

Those in the air transport sector who are currently filing advance cargo information into Import Control System (ICS) will have to gradually start filing this data into ICS2 during the operational roll-out of Release 2.

Preparing for ICS2 Release 2: Conformance Testing

Economic operators are strongly advised to prepare in advance for Release 2, in order to avoid the risk of delays and non-compliance.

To help prepare for the introduction of ICS2 Release 2, the European Commission will make available a conformance testing environment from July 2022 until February 2023, to be able to verify the economic operator’s ability to access and exchange messages with customs authorities through the intended ICS2 trader interface. This conformance testing is mandatory for all economic operators concerned.

Economic operators responsible for filing ENS data to ICS2 should determine whether they have an existing Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number. If not, they should contact the EU customs authority of their choice to get this number and to receive support in preparing for ICS2 Release 2. They should also evaluate their trade operations for the handling of imports into the EU and contact their selected customs authority to connect and take part in the upcoming Release 2 conformance testing.

What is ICS2 Release 2?

The EU Import Control System 2 (ICS2) is a large-scale initiative to enhance customs oversight of the movement of goods prior to their arrival at the EU external borders (air, maritime, land and inland waterways). ICS2 enables customs authorities to identify high-risk consignments that necessitate early intervention, while facilitating legitimate trade into the customs territory of the EU, Norway, and Switzerland.

The system is being implemented in three releases. Having successfully completed Release 1 covering the pre-loading process for postal and express consignments by air on 15 March 2021, Release 2 is the next step in the system’s implementation, and it will go live on 1 March 2023. Release 3 will be implemented from 1 March 2024, requiring operators carrying goods on maritime and inland waterways, roads and railways to comply with the new regulations.

The European Commission is leading the operational delivery of ICS2 in close collaboration with customs authorities in Member States, Norway and Switzerland and industry stakeholders.

Two detailed factsheets are available to guide through the procedures related to ICS2 Release 2:

  • Factsheet 1: What economic operators who are directly affected by the second release need to do to get their IT systems ready in time.

For further information please visit (link)

  • Factsheet 2: What the new data reporting requirements are under Release 2 for freight forwarders, EU express couriers, postal operators with facilities outside the EU, and air carriers, irrespective of whether these operators are legally established within or outside of the European Union. For further information please visit (link)
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The Ideal Motorcycle Insurance in The United States

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Within the last two years, there has been a reported spike in motorcycle rider fatalities in the United States. 2020 was a year that saw around 5,579 motorcycle-related deaths –which accounts for 14% of annual traffic fatalities. Of course, every motorcycle driver knows the risks when they get on a bike and how much more likely they are to get into an accident and encounter serious damages and injuries than they are in a car. As such, motorcycle insurance seems like more than just a legal requirement for liability reasons. But what makes the best and most affordable motorcycle insurance policy? This post serves as your tell-all guide.

Motorcycle Coverage Types

While this is the terminology for motorcycle insurance in the United States, its function and purchasing of it remain consistent globally. At the same time, shopping and finding the right motorcycle coverage is also a consistent international practice. Here are the major motorcycle insurance coverages and why they are important to have:

  • Liability insurance – Sometimes called third-party liability, liability coverage for any vehicle is usually required in any state or country with very few exceptions. Paying for damages and injuries you cause to other drivers is often a legal obligation. So, liability coverage includes damage you caused to another driver’s property (being their vehicle) and any injuries that you also caused. This is known as the at-fault rule in auto insurance.
  • Collision insurance – This is one of two coverages in addition to liability that makes up full coverage. Collision coverage is for damage to your own motorcycle in an accident that you caused. This coverage isn’t required by law, but when it comes to a motorcycle that is much more easily damaged than a car, it would be a great idea to carry it.
  • Comprehensive insurance – This is the second part of full coverage for a motorcycle. This accounts for damages caused to your motorcycle while you aren’t driving it or it is in storage. Damages can be due to fire, weather, or criminal causes. With a vehicle as secure as a motorcycle, this also seems like a more than necessary motorcycle insurance.
  • Personal injury protection – By now, you may have been wondering about injuries that you sustain during an at-fault accident –that is where personal injury protection comes in. Injuries and medical treatments following a motorcycle accident you caused are all included here.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage – While vehicle and motorcycle insurance is required in the majority of regions of the world, there are those who break the law and drive with little to no insurance at all. If there were to hit you, they might not be able to cover all the damages. Your uninsured motorist coverage will come to the rescue here and do it for them. This includes injuries and property damage.
  • Custom parts coverage – Some motorcycle owners have custom parts for jobs done on their bikes that often aren’t covered by standard motorcycle insurance. Custom parts coverage sort of acts as an umbrella policy for them as it insures any replacements and repairs.   

How Much Motorcycle Insurance Costs

Like car insurance, it’s difficult to narrow down the average cost of motorcycle insurance because it depends on so many personal factors to the point it’s nearly different for everyone. These factors, also looked at when it comes to car insurance, are:

  • Age – Younger drivers tend to pay more for insurance.
  • Riding record/experience – Those who are more skilled with fewer accident mark-ups pay less for insurance.
  • Bike type – More luxurious and high-speed bikes will fetch higher insurance rates.
  • Residence – Where you live and keep your bike will be considered when it comes to local crime rates and weather that can be hazardous to its safekeeping.
  • Claims history – Those who file insurance claims often pay more for insurance.
  • Credit score – Insurance is all about making your monthly payments on time, so your credit score will be factored into how much you pay. If you have a good score, you will pay less.
  • Deductible – The amount that you personally pay before your claim goes through is your deductible, and it is directly inverse to how much you pay for insurance monthly –the higher the deductible than the lower the insurance rate will be.

Best Motorcycle Insurance For You

Finding the best and most affordable motorcycle insurance is easy when you keep two important things in mind –knowing your motorcycle usage and lifestyle and comparing several quotes from insurance companies that sell such coverage. Every insurance company prices its policies differently, and quotes are usually free, so you should take advantage of that. Full coverage for motorcycles with reasonable rates is possible to find.

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New Support Will Help Strengthen Indonesia’s Tax System

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The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, approved a $750 million loan to the Indonesian government to help increase tax revenue, improve tax system equity, and strengthen institutions for more efficient planning and spending.

Despite impressive development progress over recent decades in the country, Indonesia continues to face challenges, partly brought by the COVID19 pandemic, in its efforts to maintain sustainable and inclusive economic growth. This is in part due to the level of Indonesia’s tax revenues, which is lower when compared to other emerging economies, as is spending on public investment, health, and social protection. Consequently, reforms to tax policy and administration, and public expenditure are important prerequisites for the Government to be able to deliver on its development priorities.

“Since 2019, the Government of Indonesia has been focusing on tax and expenditure reforms,” said Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia. “The support from the World Bank will help strengthen Indonesia’s fiscal sustainability, contribute to Indonesia’s broad-based economic growth following the pandemic, and help reduce poverty.”

The Indonesia Fiscal Reform Development Policy Loan, will help address the country’s key revenue and expenditure challenges through two pillars. The first pillar aims to increase revenue by increasing the value-added tax (VAT) rate, especially for high-income individuals, and by rationalizing tax exemptions. This pillar will also introduce a carbon tax that will support a low-carbon economy by imposing a tax on emission from coal-fired power plants.

The second pillar aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of spending by strengthening the capacity of subnational governments in the fiscal transfer systems, strengthening the link between planning and budgeting, and improving Indonesia’s budget execution. These efforts will help increase funding for the more populous regions, improve development spending results, and be more aligned with national development priorities.

“The pandemic has reduced the fiscal space for Indonesia’s development spending as revenue mobilization is low,” said Satu Kahkonen, World Bank Country Director for Indonesia and Timor-Leste.”These fiscal reforms will support the post-pandemic recovery by generating more revenue and helping improve the quality of spending. Our new financing will complement the significant reforms that Indonesia has taken to reduce poverty and improve development outcomes, and will also help Indonesia’s transition toward low carbon and sustainable energy.”

The new financing is aligned with the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Indonesia 2021-2025, particularly strategic objectives related to strengthening economic competitiveness and resilience and improving infrastructure through the introduction of a carbon tax.

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