His Excellency Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, said that the emirate of Dubai has become in record time one of the fastest growing cities in the world because of its long standing commitment to innovation. “The creativity of Dubai’s visionary leadership and ambitious people is what has shaped and continues to shape our colourful city,” he said.
Mr. Musabih made these statements early today (Monday, May 5th) as he addressed the 2014 World Customs Organization Conference & Exhibition, held in Brisbane, Australia from May 5-7.
In his keynote address delivered at the opening session of the global forum, he pointed out that Dubai Customs is now dealing with more than 170,000 multinational companies operating in a variety of economic sectors with great competitive advantage, thanks to its tremendous potential for attracting business from all quarters.
Reflecting on the theme of the conference “Information Technology as a Catalyst for Economic Competitiveness - Innovation Powering Facilitation of International Trade & Tourism”; Ahmed Mahboob said that one of the key options for the international Customs community to achieve the goals set by the recently concluded WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation is innovation.
“With innovation impacting so many areas, from technology to human resource development, I believe it is a key driving force for successful Customs administrations, not only ensuring that Customs remain dynamic but also ensuring that they are ready to meet the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities offered by the 21st century border and trade environment,” he remarked.
Ahmed Mahboob: Innovation is a key driver of economic growth and prosperity
The Director of Dubai Customs argued that innovation is not just about designing or implementing something new, whether it is a new policy, technology, or way of doing business. It is also about continuing investment in all aspects of Customs’ work, including its human capital which is critical to ensure sustained progress and excellence.
“Innovation can be stirred by many things, including evidence-based research, ideas-generating dialogue, knowledge sharing, solution-driven development, modern management practices, the use of new technologies, productive partnerships among stakeholders, quality customer relations, and the willingness to do better by thinking creatively.”
Mr. Musabih further noted that, “The whole world today has begun to seriously recognize the key role of innovation as a driver of economic growth and prosperity, and the need for a broad horizontal vision of innovation applicable to developed and emerging economies.”
In this perspective, he said, there are so many commendable innovation efforts by Customs agencies worldwide, particularly in terms of putting forward sustainable capacity building and strategic development programmes aimed at supporting Customs continual reform and modernization.
Addressing an international audience from over 100 countries, Ahmed Mahboob highlighted the Smart Dubai strategy that was recently advanced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into the smartest city in the world within the upcoming three years.
“Dubai Customs is committed to be a key player in the implementation of this ambitious and unique strategy; as we have already put in place a strong business platform, when we became in early October 2013 the first fully smart government department nationwide, delivering our mobile-enabled services around the clock. Our ultimate objective behind this technological transformation is to make the services easily accessible for the customers, which impacts positively on facilitating trade flows and enhancing economic returns,” he said.
“Ahead of Expo 2020 that Dubai will host in virtually six years from now, Dubai Customs is currently exploring further facilities using the latest IT smart solutions to contribute into making Dubai Expo one of the best and most successful international exhibitions in history. The state-of-the-art facilities that we are going to launch in time for Expo 2020 will be tuned to exceed the expectations of potential traders and exhibitors who will take part in the mega event.”
Mr. Musabih explained that “ATA Carnet, for example, will allow exhibitors to avail of duty-free and tax-free temporary importation of goods for up to one year. Pre-arrival clearance of qualified goods will be facilitated through Dubai Cutsoms’ smart services portal. Our comprehensive package of facilitations would help traders and exhibitors optimize their benefits during and after Dubai Expo 2020 that will last for six months.”
H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih maintained that the expense of putting in place an innovative technological solution, whether aimed at Customs simplification or processes streamlining, needs to be viewed against the very significant gains in terms of trade cost reductions and time savings that this solution can entail.
“In Dubai Customs, over the past decade we have invested a lot in many development projects geared at streamlining and automation of clearance procedures at Dubai’s land, sea and air borders. This extended investment in technology has earned Dubai Customs first place in the Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) awards within the Electronically Distinguished Government Entity category for the last three years.”
The Director of Dubai Customs concluded that “Several innovations have been developed in-house to improve our performance in various areas of Customs work. The most notable of these developments is the recent introduction of the Risk Engine tool within Dubai Customs Mirsal 2 system. This cutting-edge tool speeds up customs processes, allowing clearance and release of 90% of non-risky consignments in less than 2 minutes.”
The deployed risk management system has significantly increased Dubai Customs’ capacity to handle a growing number of trade declarations without need for additional manpower and in shorter clearance time but more effective screening of cargos.
This year’s WCO IT Conference & Exhibition is discussing topics like Information Technologies and their Role in accelerating Trade Facilitation, Innovation in Customs as a Means of Boosting Trade, Challenges for Securing and Facilitating the Maritime Supply Chain, Duty Recovery and Contraband Detection: New Technology for Improved Results, and E-Commerce.
The three-day event also tries to answer crucial questions such as: How can IT help meet commitments stemming from the WTO Agreement? Are we ready to implement the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation? What is the role of Customs and other border agencies in increasing economic competitiveness and improving border efficiency for trade and travel?