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Dubai begins paperless trail

The Dubai Paperless Strategy marks a significant milestone in Dubai’s quest to become a world-leading smart city

Dubai Police and Dubai Water and Electricity Authority are among those involved
Dubai Police and Dubai Water and Electricity Authority are among those involved

Smart Dubai has begun implementing the first phase of its Dubai paperless strategy which seeks to digitise internal and external transactions at government entities and to save time and effort for employees and customers.


The initiative was announced earlier this year by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, to ensure Dubai’s full transition towards smart government.


The first phase of the strategy, set to conclude at the end of the year, will see Smart Dubai work with six government entities, namely: Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), Dubai Land Department, Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED), and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).


Smart Dubai held several meetings with officials from the government agencies participating in the first stage, which resulted in the formation of special task forces from each entity, that will work closely with Smart Dubai to implement the strategy.


The strategy is set to expedite the transition of internal and external (customer) paper transactions across government institutions towards digital. The government will stop issuing or requesting paper documents from dealers, and government employees will stop issuing or processing paper in key or supporting operations.


“The Dubai paperless strategy constitutes a significant leap forward in Dubai’s quest to transition into a world-leading smart city, embodying the vision and directives of our wise leadership to embrace advanced technologies and harness them to conduct integrated and paper-free operations at government entities,” said Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director general of the Smart Dubai Office (SDO).


The strategy revolves around three main axes:

  • technology, whereby all technological requirements would be provided to ensure paper-free government transactions and procedures
  • legislation, where the necessary legislative changes are made to regulate paperless transactions in all institutions
  • culture, seeks to take the strategy forward, overcoming cultural barriers of individuals and institutions to promote paperless transactions and procedures.

Several technical changes will be gradually rolled out to implement the strategy. These include increasing automation in government institutions and tending to both external (customer) needs and internal (administrative and operational) needs, which will be conducted through digital IDs, signatures and certificates, as well as secure data available via dedicated platforms.


Changes also include legislative adjustments, regulating physical presence at the courts, and the legal requirement to produce paper documents to guarantee the credibility of the transaction.


The second and third phases will see Smart Dubai work with ‘dozens’ more government agencies in 2019, with the final objective being to establish a fully-fledged smart, paperless government by 2021.


In a separate announcement, Smart Dubai has introduced the “Zakat Al-Fitr” service on its Dubai Now application which allows citizens to make their Zakat donation through their smart devices. The service was launched in collaboration with Dar Al Ber Society.


Dubai Now is an integrated platform offering 61 smart services from 28 government, semi-governmental and private entities, targeting 11 different customer segments.


The application includes services from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), which was the first federal entity to join the platform, allowing customers to pay electricity and water bills through the app. Dubai Now also allows users to get involved in volunteer work, in collaboration with the Community Development Authority (CDA).


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