Service centres close as Dubai government services move online
Dubai: Starting Sunday, almost 40 Dubai government departments’ customer service centres will be closed till Thursday for the ‘Week without Service Centres’ initiative, with 1,100 services accessible online.
The initiative, led by the Department of Finance (DoF), comes in line with government efforts towards completing the smart transformation of Dubai services by 2021.
It also follows last October’s ‘A Day without Service Centres’ initiative, which was also coordinated by DoF. The day-long initiative in 2017 had reportedly led to a 30 per cent spike in the use of smart services on the day. This year, the customer service centres will remain closed from October 21 to 25.
The initiative is approved by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
From Sunday to Thursday, 100 service centres of 40 entities, a few of which are semi-government and private establishments, will be using online delivery of 1,100 services through websites, apps, electronic kiosks and call centres.
According to state news agency Wam, online transactions save time, money and environmental resources, while reducing traffic and pressure on public transport.
Dubai Media Office on Saturday said on its Twitter account:“#Dubai Sees a Week without Service Centres on Sunday 21 October and will continue until 25 October With participation of 40 government entities.”
Some government departments have released more details about their participation. The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will take part by offering 192 smart services.
“RTA will contribute to this initiative by offering 192 smart services to all spectrums of the community. Such services will be easily accessible to clients via smartphones, computers, self-service machines and the call centre,” said Ahmad Mahboub, director of Customers’ Happiness at RTA’s Corporate Administrative Support Services Sector.
“These channels are ready to deliver services that will bring happiness to clients by saving the time and hassles of visiting service centres. The step contributes to the green economy and environmental sustainability by reducing carbon footprint. It also supports the ‘Dubai Paperless Strategy’, which aims to eliminate paper consumption in daily government transactions after 2021, and will contribute in conserving resources, reducing expenses and growing revenues.”
He added: “RTA’s Call Centre  will be accessible to the public 24/7 and so are the self-service machines across Dubai. Currently, there are 20 machines, and the plan is to increase the number to 55 by 2020. RTA has worked on an awareness campaign to educate the public on the ‘Week without Service Centres’ initiative and its importance in building a sustainable future for the city.”
Meanwhile, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced its participation saying it will only accept payments through smart channels during the initiative.
Dubai Chamber members and customers will be required to make payments through the organisation’s website and smart apps. This requirement will be applied to several core and sub-services, including membership, Certificates of Origin, ATA Carnets, attestation, business reports and economic studies.
Transactions for these services will be suspended at Dubai Chamber’s head office in Deira, as well as its branch offices in Jebel Ali, DAFZA, and Al Aweer.
Hamad Buamim, president and CEO of Dubai Chamber, said: “Following a positive response to ‘A Day Without Service Centres’ last year, we are confident that the week-long initiative will raise awareness about the benefits of accessing our services through digital channels, which are designed to offer businesses an easy, convenient and efficient way to process transactions.”
Dubai Chamber’s range of smart applications includes its Mobile Services app, a one-stop shop that enables Dubai Chamber members to process requests for electronic Certificates of Origin and ATA Carnets. Customers who use the app can make online payments for documentation, services and events, and access the commercial directory, credit rating and information services.
In addition, the Chamber’s Smart Mediation app includes useful features that allow companies to settle business disputes in a cost-effective and amicable manner, while it can also track new and previous applications, and receive status update reports. These solutions are designed to enhance the customer experience and help companies conduct business in an efficient manner.