Dubai: Service transactions provided by government entities in Dubai will be available only via smart channels on October 26 as part of the initiative titled "A Day without Service Centres" to encourage customers to use smart channels to pay fees and complete transactions 
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approved the initiative on Saturday.

Launched and rolled out by the Dubai Department of Finance, the initiative aims to encourage customers to turn to smart channels to obtain and complete government services and transactions.

To this end, transactions requiring payments at customer service centres operating in Dubai will be stopped for one day. The department has started coordinating with all government entities in Dubai to implement the initiative to close service centres across the emirate for a day on October 26.

This comes as part of the vital role DOF plays as an established central entity concerned with collecting public revenues for Dubai Government. 

“Instantly, all government entities across Dubai Government have started cooperating to make the initiative a success," said Abdul Rahman Saleh Al Saleh, director general of the department.

He added: "This first-of-a-kind initiative comes in with the supreme directions of Shaikh Mohammad to make Dubai the world’s happiest and smartest city.”

He indicated that customer service centres will dedicate their efforts on Thursday, October 26, to spread awareness among customers about the importance of transformation to smart channels to complete transactions, whether via smart apps or the web.

“On Thursday, all transactions requiring payments will be stopped for one day at the centres, but will remain available through all smart channels”, Al Saleh added.

It is also made possible thanks to the support of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, who is following up on the steps taken in this regard. The department plays a key role towards achieving Dubai’s vision and strategy aiming to realise full smart transformation in the emirate.

“I call on all government service entities in Dubai to enhance such constructive cooperation to make the ‘A Day without Service Centres’ initiative a success,” Al Saleh said.

“As per the aims of the ‘Leading and Outstanding Government’ theme of Dubai 2021 Strategy, Dubai government seeks to make life easier for residents and visitors by providing personalised, coherent, smart, and high quality services via standardised and coordinated channels that suit the needs of all concerned categories on one side, and the nature of government entities integration on the other. And hence comes the vital role DOF plays in cementing such digital transformation of all aspects of life in Dubai”, he emphasised.

Jamal Hamed Al Mari, executive director of the Central Accounts Sector at the department, said that service transactions provided by many government entities in Dubai on Thursday will be available only via smart channels, including ‘Dubai Now’ app and other government apps available for smart phones. “There will also be the web-based channels via computers, and centres will resume normal operations after that date”, he said.

“The initiative will be held annually and will see expansion. Participating government entities have expressed their happiness and excitement to take part in the initiative, and promised to work towards making it a success by encouraging customers to go for smart channels. We are working with various government entities to coordinate efforts to prepare all customer segments for digital transformation, and encourage them to use e-pay, via smart phones or computers”, Al Marri added.
He urged Dubai residents and visitors to use smart channels more often to complete government transactions, so it becomes part of the day-to-day cultural evolution, thus keeping up with the digital transformation drive in Dubai. 
Al Marri said that all service counters at government centres in Dubai will stop receiving customers with transactions that can be done via alternative smart channels. However, transactions that require presence in person at the service centres will continue as usual. 

Completing government transactions via smart channels helps save customers’ time, effort and money by avoiding use of private or public means of transport, and avoiding crowded roads and service centres, thus helping in preserving environmental resources, rationalizing fuel consumption, and reducing carbon emissions.