Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Foreign companies no longer need 51% Kuwaiti ownership to do business here

(Repost - source link below)


It is a long held and established business principle under the Commercial Law No. 68 of 1980 (the “Commercial Law”) that foreigners cannot engage in any commercial business without having a Kuwaiti partner.
If the business is in the form of a Kuwait commercial entity, the Kuwaiti partner(s) must own at least 51% of the company. Alternatively, if a foreigner will not engage with a Kuwaiti partner to establish a commercial entity, that foreigner may only do business in Kuwait through the use of a Kuwaiti agent.  Such agents receive favorable treatment under the Commercial Law in respect to termination of the agency relationship and other matters which can act as a disincentive for foreign investors. 

The Foreign Investment Law 
In 2001 Kuwait passed the Foreign Direct Investment Law No. 8 of 2001(the “FDI Law”) to encourage and secure direct foreign investment into the Kuwait market.  The FDI Law was established as part of the Kuwait 2035 Plan which seeks to transform Kuwait into a financial and commercial regional hub by diversifying the economy, reducing its dependence upon the oil industry and inviting the private sector to drive economic activities.   
The FDI Law created an exception to the Commercial Law by allowing foreigners to own up to 100% of a commercial entity in Kuwait where the entity operates in select industrial sectors such as infrastructure, insurance, hospitals, housing, tourism and entertainment.
Under the FDI Law, foreign investors are incentivized to invest in Kuwait including property incentives in the form of a land grant and a tax holiday for up to 10 years.  These incentives are linked to the proportion of Kuwaiti nationals that are employed.
The FDI Law was introduced with much anticipation and optimism given its alignment with the 2035 Plan. However, to date, the FDI Law has arguably not had the desired impact that was envisaged at the outset. This is primarily due to the difficulty foreign investors have faced in obtaining a license from the Kuwait Foreign Investment Bureau (KFIB), the entity established to implement the FDI Law.  Further, where a license was granted by the KFIB it can often take many months to process and there have also been delays in obtaining land grants. 
Until fairly recently, the FDI Law was largely viewed as ineffective by the private sector, leading many to abandon pursuing their own license and instead focusing their efforts on participation in Kuwait through other means (e.g. the use of SPVs within the GCC). This is not entirely attributable to the FDI Law as inward investment has been affected by political turmoil and the delay of many anticipated projects in Kuwait which were also designed to boost economic diversification and foreign investment.
Changes to the Foreign Investment Law 
In line with the recent modernization of legislation in Kuwait, the KFIB and government officials sought to revise the FDI Law after discussing the various concerns with investors. Due to the critical need for change, the FDI Law was repealed and replaced by Foreign Direct Investment Law No. 116 of 2013(the “New FDI Law”) in June 2013. The intent of the New FDI Law is to address flaws in the repealed FDI Law, encourage more direct investment in Kuwait and make it much easier for investors to obtain a license.  
As a starting point, the KFIB is replaced with the Direct Investment Promotion Authority (“DIPA”), which is essentially created with the same mandate as the KFIB. DIPA will assume all assets and liabilities attributed to KFIB, which will be subsequently dissolved.  KFIB is enthusiastic about the issuance of the New FDI Law and deems this as a promising step towards achieving the objectives of the 2035 Plan. 
It should be noted that the New FDI Law will be accompanied by executive regulations (the “Regulations”) which we anticipate will be introduced in December of this year. Accordingly, the New FDI Law will become effective upon the issuance of the Regulations.  The Regulations should shed light and provide further detail as to the implementation of the New FDI Law. Nonetheless, there are a few improvements, which can already be seen in the New FDI Law.
First, the New FDI Law provides a “One-Stop Shop” whereby a DIPA license application is considered by a specialised unit comprising of all relevant officials from the various relevant government departments.  This unit will hopefully deal with the issuance of commercial, employment and all other licenses required for operations and avoid or reduce bureaucratic delays. Additionally, this specialized unit is expected to deal with the grant of land required for many projects, a role typically held by the Public Authority for Industry.  Whilst the concept of a “One-Stop Shop” is not new, the New FDI Law formalizes its creation and should hopefully reduce ‘red tape’ for foreign investors. 
Another improvement is the use of a “Negative List” in Article 11 of the New FDI Law to identify the sectors available to foreigners for investment. The repealed FDI Law specifically identified 14 available sectors for foreign investment. The New FDI Law expands the available sectors by stating that the Council of Minister shall prepare a list of those sectors which are excluded from foreign investment within the scope of the New FDI Law. This implies that investment in any sector not identified by this list would be permissible. 
Another likely improvement is the reduction of time required to receive a license from the DIPA. Unlike the KFIB who could take up to 8 months to issue a license, the New FDI Law establishes that the DIPA must respond within 30 days of receipt of the license application. This brings Kuwait closer to its GCC neighbors with respect to the length of time ordinarily required to process a foreign investment license. 
The New FDI Law is certainly in need of the Regulations in order to be able to establish how the proposed improvements will be implemented.  However, to meet the objectives of the 2035 Plan, we consider it crucial that the New FDI Law proves effective in attracting foreign investment to the Kuwaiti market.
We look forward to the introduction of the Regulations to enable a further analysis of the implementation of the New FDI Law and its likely impact.
- See more at: http://www.tamimi.com/en/magazine/law-update/section-5/september-3/the-new-kuwait-foreign-investment-law.html#sthash.mjWAvqfi.dpuf

Sunday, October 25, 2015

New life in Mishref

I'm loving my new apartment.  We finally got curtains up this weekend and a few pictures on the wall (thanks to Bunny and his power tools).  Its coming together and feeling like a real home.

I finally got Desert Dawg (Lilli Putian, my 18 year old Maltese-poodle mix) home this weekend also. She took a while longer because I was travelling and she is more work than Mikey and I didn't want Dorothy to have to clean up after my 2 dogs. Lilli  really is a shell of her former existence. She's so frail and after a doggy stroke, paces around in circles with her head tilted to one side.  My friend who she was staying with, Hair Girl, very kindly bought her a soft-sided playpen (which she must have had to scour the country for) so Lilli  wouldn't bump her head on the wall.  

When DD is out of her pen, I have to keep a close watch on her because she will get stuck on/under/in just about anything even the slightest bit potentially dangerous (like TV cables or under a dresser).  Then, she lets out this horrible wail like a banshee coming for your soul late at night.  It's awful.  I don't think she can bark anymore and this sound comes from someplace other-worldly.  She gets frightened, pees on herself, and starts crying.  Having an aging dog is not for the faint of heart.

Anyways, when we got her home, Mikey walked over and kissed her face.  Louie, Dorothy's cat, put his little paw on DD's face to welcome  her in.  They were both very gentle with her.  

Yesterday morning, something amazing happened.  Lilli has suffered from eye issues for her whole life.  If, 18 years ago, there had been a specialized vet for eyes in Kuwait, it was a problem that could have been corrected through an operation.  Her problem was diagnosed a few years ago, but she is too old to be sedated.  So, I put antibiotic drops in her eyes whenever the problem gets really bad.  Mikey has also had an eye infection when he was a puppy, also treated with drops.

Mikey was running around the apartment.  Lilli had disappeared somewhere.  The drops were on the kitchen counter and turned around to do something.  I went to see if Lilli had food and water and there, in between the bowls, standing upright, were the eye drops.  I believe that Mikey knew that Lilli needed them.  He's a smart, compassionate guy.

Mishref is so quiet and the people are so decent and friendly.  People smile and say "good morning" and admire the dog instead of looking like they are hoping to bash his head in.   Mashallah.  I really love the area and I'm so glad that things have turned out like this - even if it was a bad start and things were thrown together so quickly when I found it.  

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Thoughts on Married Men

I'm probably going to catch some crap for this post, but here goes....

One of my (former) friends broke up with her boyfriend recently.  She dumped him.  She was in a line of western girlfriends he's had before that also dumped him.

I didn't know him.  I met him once with my (former) friend and had a brief conversation; and saw him another time for maybe 3 minutes.  He approached me and I'm still not certain if he just wanted someone to talk to or because he was interested in me as the next stepping stone in a line of western girlfriends (does he think that we are "more open-minded?")   Anyways, we never went out. We just talked over the phone about his X and their relationshit.  He didn't have pleasant things to say about her.  The blame was shifted her way.

One of his first statements to me was, "She wasn't interested in true love."  Ah yes.  True love. Okay.

Why am I blogging about this?  Because I'm fascinated by people's perspectives.   I've also been through a similar scenario in the past with a former relationship where both of us thought it was "true love."  Since then, I've become older and wiser. (Not dissing true love - just how it comes to you, in which package, in which format...)  In a parallel universe where things were different and yes, ok...

The "person of interest" of my first 3 paragraphs above is married.  My own person of interest was married.  There are a lot of married men out there seeking true love.  (As I am sure there are a lot of married women, but I'm focusing on the guys for now.)

And why the hey are they seeing "true love" when they are married?  Well, most (here) didn't marry for love.  They married by arrangement or to have kids or for some kind of deal.  The arrangement is keeps them married, "For the children" and all that.  (Well, married men are married men and want to have their cake and eat it to - in any continent in any country in any town.)

My POI (MPOI) shall remain nameless, but if you are a long-time reader, you can probably figure out who he is through my previous posts from years ago.  MPOI didn't sneak around.  He stated his intention to his whole family (and no, it is NOT Mr. Clean).  His first wife knew.  His kids knew (brave, strong, little people who sought me out to find out who I am).  His sisters knew.   And I met the whole crew.  I was his second wife (although not in court for several reasons - which is an entirely different post).   In Islam, men can have up to 4 wives as long as they treat them all equally (which I don't believe that any man can because the Holy Quran also states that we are all unique individuals, so how can we all be equal?).   I believe that MPOI is a stand-up guy.  He did what he believed was right and I respect him for that.  If it was right or wrong in reality is something that is subject to interpretation, but he believed what he was doing was right and there was no sneaking around.  When I met him, he told me he was married and he wasn't actively looking for a relationship with someone else.  He was honest (to everyone involved) and still is.  I love his family.  I love his kids.  I even have a fondness for #1 (wife).  She is a lot like me in many ways.  We got to be friends at one point.

Did it work out?  No.  Would I do it again?  No.  Would I recommend it for any of my friends?  Hell to tha NO.  It isn't something that I usually openly discuss; it is something to be embarrassed by. Several of my other western female friends (professional, educated, thinking women) have been married at times as second wives and they don't discuss it either for the same reasons; you are always second-best.  You will always be the side chick; legally or not.  The implication is that #2/3/4 has a lack of self-esteem or self-respect (which I don't believe to be the case, but I think most people judge it that way).

MPOI's #1 once asked me what I would do if MPOI married someone after me - or what would I do if I were in her shoes.  I said I would have divorced him.  If he's having a public long-term relationship with another woman (marriage or not), he shouldn't be with the first one.  He's looking for something that is lacking.  (Again, this is my perspective.)

So back to POI and his quest for real love. POI sneaks around.  He meets discreetly at GF's homes and seldom goes out in public to hide the relationship.  He makes excuses.  Dude!  You're not going to get it.  Especially with a single Western woman.  I don't think POI qualifies in the sugar daddy category.  Free meals at home once in a while maybe.  Maybe some trinkets.  But that's about it.  And only on his schedule.

Why would a woman want to be "committed" to someone who is already committed?  Love?  Yeah, ok.  Let's look at that argument.  What is a single western woman going to want from a love relationship:  a future with that person she loves.  She's going to want more.  And if she wants more (a commitment), it will likely be sooner, rather than later.  "Marry me or move on".  (and then IF you get to the point where you get married as a second wife, the reality hits you/novelty wears off and you want out).  POI Dude doesn't want to get married.  He wants to sneak around.  This translates to him getting dumped again and again.  (Don't get me wrong - I don't feel bad for him.  I am perplexed by his lack of understanding of it all and why he would be so arrogant as to believe that any woman would go along with his scheme.)

If he isn't going to follow through, POI should aim lower.  Start looking for someone from a similar background: local and married.  It's a win/win (actually, lose/lose in my viewpoint) situation:  They both have to go home to their partners.  They both have very limited free time.  They both will understand the need for no calls after a certain hour on certain days of the week.

But ultimately, POI shouldn't do it at all.  Taken is taken.  A guy who cheats on his wife is going to cheat on the next woman.  You're not helping your children by cheating on their mother or getting married to another woman.  They will know and the cycle will continue. (And having more than one wife is no walk in the park - it is WORK.)    You are only teaching them to accept being unhappy.  If you want true love, get divorced and go find it and commit to it.  Live.  Be happy.  Let  your wife live and be happy.  (How can you be her knight in shining armor when you're sneaking around?)

If it is true love - you will want to spend the rest of your life (and most of your time) with that person.  If not, you're just lying to yourself and no one else is to blame.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Facebook Page Closed

I figured it would happen eventually because my Facebook account is anonymous,  but now I'm locked out.  I'll look into other apps that I can chat with all y'alls on.  I'm not ignoring you.  I just can't get in.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Move-in Day

Thought I would share a photo of the moving truck that came with my stuff.  Yes, all that is mine (but - they even bubble-wrapped my bathroom waste baskets, covered them with plastic and cardboard and then taped.  

 I moved into my new apartment.  15 movers.  2 days.  210 boxes.  BAM.  5 months in storage.

If you look off to the left of the photo, sitting in a chair he "procured" from our building, is the smelly truck driver who decided it was appropriate to get a piece of cardboard and make himself a sleeping area in my living room for the entire time people moved furniture around him.  Smelly only moved when I brought out my German Shepherd from the bathroom where he was quietly content to listen to people outside rather than barking at them (he has been SUCH a great dog, Mashallah).  Smelly was the only crew member who Mikey didn't like - and I was happy that Mikey let him know it.  Tee hee.  Good boy!

Hairytale Ending: Hair by Connie

Every once in a while I seem to stumble upon someone truly exceptional.  It usually happens in an odd way and I'm sure that The Universe has set it up in some mysterious and magical weave of journeys.

My hair girl of the past 4 years left Kuwait a month ago.  I'm a loyal hair person. I don't switch.   I thought she was doing a pretty good job.  I was really upset because she had gone and hadn't been able to refer me to anyone else. I had finally gotten the closest to Gwen Stefani hair color that I ever had - but it wasn't in the best of health and a couple of choice words from my tell-it-like-it-is sister made me question the inevitable:  Had I gone too blonde?  ("The girls in my office didn't recognize you. They asked if you had decided to go white.")  DAAAAYUM!

The most commonly asked question I receive from female readers is:  Where do you recommend for either highlights or a cut?  (Male readers' most commonly asked question is;  How much do you charge for a massage.  I DON'T DO THAT!  Sheesh!  I wrote one innocent post about legal! massages in Kuwait and it turned into a free-for-all that has now lasted over a decade.)


Someone asked recently so I posed to my DG Facebook account asking the question.  Then saying, 'Hey, while I'm out here - if someone wants to do my highlights in exchange for a POSSIBLE blog post/review (if it is a positive experience - and only then), write to me."

I got a nice message from an American lady named Connie who does hair from her home salon in Fintas.

Ok, ok, so I have been to "home salons" in Kuwait before and had to stick my head under someone's kitchen sink tap when it came time to wash out the foils.  NOT for me.  Equally degrading is having to stick your head in their sink and then being charged the same amount of money you would AT a real salon where you would be pampered and offered something to drink and finished with the latest products offered to you (but not at the home salon).  That just has never done it for me.

But, I thought - ok, I will give it a try and Connie seemed nice.  I knew very little else about her, but I did see some of the photos of people's hair she had cut/colored and they were all fabulous.

I made an appointment.  I got directions to her house. I went.  Didn't know what to expect.

Out came this petite woman with a shiny mane of long, thick hair.  It was sooo pretty (Mashallah) and she probably thought I was being weird because I couldn't stop staring at her!  Was it real?  Was it a wig?  Who did that??  (Her daughter - who she taught.  OMG.)

Connie's salon really is just that - a salon.  Ok, let me back up a little.  It could be a salon in the South (US) maybe - comfortable seating area and nice kitchen area as well as a little terrace outside.  A real salon wash station (reclining chair and salon sink), comfortable salon chairs - the whole experience.  She also has quite a bit of high-dollar products to choose from.

And... Let me just say... ho lee sheet.  Girlfriend is more hair technologically-advanced than almost all of the salons I have been to in Kuwait - and that includes Tony and Guy; which is right up there.  Connie receives more regular training than most stylists in Kuwait do (regularly attending hair shows and conventions and training in the US).  She uses the latest techniques and the equipment she's got in her basement salon is shock-and-awe level.  She's got over $10,000 in sheers, a Wella Climazone (which is a 7000KD piece of equipment used for processing hair color), and uses Jaguar Thermo Sheers (which seal in hair during a cut and makes your hair healthier).  She's got an enormous array of brushes and insists on using only natural bristles.  Me likes.

(Not me)  Photo by @hairbyconniekw

What I liked the most was the personal touch.  There were no snooty, staring customers.  Just me.  I got her full attention. Connie doesn't double-book and likes to take her time (in my case, it was about 4 hours from beginning to end).  Don't freak!  She offered me chicken pot pie that she had just made and has lots of snacks on hand.  Connie's from Kentucky and those women are constantly trying to feed you (love it!!!).  Even when they are about a size 2....

And like most Southern girls, she's gonna tell it like it is.   If you are used to people cow-towing to you and BSing you, Connie is not your girl. She is a straight-talker just like me.  So, when I first sat down and heard her (first, but not last) expression of, "I gotta be honest with you...." about how my hair looked like, "trailer trash", I was like, 'Ok, let's do this.  Show me what you got.  Bring it on.'

(At this point, I already knew that she was about to get a favorable review.)  "We're going to do something different.  Something that  you've probably never had before."  Yup.  It's true.  It happened.

I had asked her just to touch up my roots, but she asked me if she could make my hair healthier and put in some lowlights.  She started by painting my roots with color and then proceeded to do balayage (hand painting individual strands - similar to foil highlights, but she could do several different colors and it is less harsh than foils).

During the time that she was doing my hair, I got to hear about her life's adventures in Kuwait (and how similar we both are).  She's been here for 25 years.  I've been here coming up on 19.  So we played the, "Do you know...." game.  I knew some of her friends.  She knew some of mine.  Kuwait is small. I'm sorry that I hadn't met Connie before because I just felt like I've known her forever in a matter of hours.  My new best friend.

We ended with a lovely cut - just a little off, but it all fell into place with the thermo sheers.  She knew immediately what type of cut I had received before (bad! "chemical cut").  ... Live and learn.

We hugged.  I promised to see her soon.  I went home happy and sleepy and with bagorgeous new hair.  When I got home, Dorothy and BFF were in the kitchen and the "Oh my God!  Oh my God's" started.  "WHERE did you have it done?  Let's call her!  We're going!"

I thought I would freak out by not having platinum blonde hair anymore, but I really like it. It feels better.  It looks better and I have had a lot of compliments (but not at work, where I could walk in wearing a pink wig and a tutu and no one would bat an eye.... Don't dare me... don't....).

So, go to Connie.
As her card says, 
"Free driver service available for those who do NOT have a car.  
Minimum salon service 25kd or 3kd round trip"  
Instagram:  hairbyconniekw.  
Phone 9922-2331

As her card also says, "The greatest form of flattery is a referral."  Connie, consider yourself flattered, girl, because it just doesn't get any better than this.  I can NOT say enough good things about you!  Looking forward to our next hair story.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Lingerie Bandit Strikes Kuwait!!!

Arab Times
4 October 2015

Lingerie thrown on road causes traffic chaos
An unknown individual threw several lingerie materials while driving on Sixth Ring Road, causing traffic congestion. According to sources, motorists driving on Sixth Ring Road were surprised to see several lingerie pieces of various colors lying on the road.

Many of them slowed down while some even stopped to check, which resulted in traffic congestion. When the Operations Room of Ministry of Interior received information about the presence of female underclothes on Sixth Ring Road, securitymen rushed to the location and removed them. 

Investigations have been launched to find and arrest the suspect who threw the lingerie on the road. 
  – end –

Seriously??? Police have nothing better to do than to chase down a lingerie bandit?  You want "shock and awe" in Kuwait?  Throw us your panties.

And puhleeze - from the looks of it, these are "A cups".  Not even worthy of a mention.  You want to do something truly poetic, drop some DDs or larger.  Plenty of big girls around.  I didn't even see any leopard print in these photos and therefore, I am guessing that these were dropped by a teenaged expat.  Fer sure, not Kuwaiti.

(I can't help it.  I love the "Underwear in Kuwait" stories.  Like the many times that bandits hung undergarments from flagpoles and police searched for the suspects....)