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6 Dubai government entities excel in paperless drive.

Summary: Some of these entities have eliminated their printers and customer service counters to prepare for a full digital transformation in the next two years.

Sherouk Zakaria


More than half of the transactions in six government entities in Dubai are now officially paperless, and plans are on to celebrate the last paper transaction in the emirate on December 12, 2021.

Smart Dubai Office (SDO) announced on Wednesday that the first phase of Dubai Paperless Strategy saw six government entities reduce paper use by 57 per cent in six months, exceeding the initial target set for 50 per cent digital transformation of transactions.

The Dubai Police, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Department of Economic Development (DED), Dubai Land Department (DLD), and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) collectively used 64 million sheets of paper in their transactions annually.

Some of these entities have eliminated their printers and customer service counters to prepare for a full digital transformation in the next two years. By the end of last year, they saved 37 million paper sheets in their internal transactions and public services.

Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, director-general of the SDO, said the strategy would be implemented in three phases where the next phase will include another 10 entities. The third phase will see the entire government sector going paperless.

"Digital government excellence is our main focus. The transformation will increase the city's competitiveness, drive its economic growth and make it attractive for investments," said Bin Bishr.

Besides eliminating paper use, the strategy, which was launched in February 2018, aims to save the public 125 million hours in completing transactions. The government will also be able to save Dh900 million annually.

Bin Bishr said that with the digital transformation of services, it will take customers only one step online to finish their transactions, and government employees no longer have to spend hundreds of hours going through all the paperwork.

Wesam Lootah, CEO of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG), said the smart transformation cannot be achieved if only part of the city's transactions is processed digitally and paper is still being wasted in over 200 service centres. "This was accepted five years ago, but paper will not be used even in internal administrative transactions by 2021. That's how we redefine a paperless government."

Lootah said a smart city needs an integrated and comprehensive system, which will save each resident of Dubai 40 hours a year that would otherwise be spent just to go from one service centre to another.

Government entities, too, will be collaborating on digital platforms. DubaiNow app, for example, was launched to offer over 55 smart services from 22 government offices in one platform. The UAEPASS also unified government services, allowing users to securely identify themselves and sign documents through smartphone-based authentication.

Lootah said technology, legislation and a paper-free culture are the three pillars of the Dubai Paperless Strategy.

"We cannot have digital solutions without legislations made to regulate paperless transactions. At the same time, we need to increase awareness among individuals and institutions to overcome the cultural barriers and promote paperless transactions and procedures."

Sherouk Zakaria "Born and raised in UAE, Sherouk Zakaria is a Senior Correspondent at Khaleej Times. Joined since May 2016, she covers Dubai Municipality, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), special events and humanitarian issues. Her choice of journalism as a career stems from her passion of telling people's stories and writing to inspire or make a difference. In her free time, she's an occasional theater and film actress. Sherouk received her BA in Mass Communications from the American University in Sharjah in 2013. Before joining Khaleej Times, she was a senior lifestyle/entertainment editor for a magazine in Dubai."

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jan 16, 2019
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