Dubai government service centres to go online-only on October 26


Dubai wants everyone to shift to smart channels and conduct transactions in the comfort of their homes and offices

Don’t be surprised if all government service centres are closed on Thursday, October 26. This day has been set as ‘A Day Without Service Centres’ by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

But, government services are still in full swing, albeit only online. This means that more than 950 government services from 33 public entities and a number of private sector entities, in more than 100 governmental service centres, will be delivered on October 26 through smart channels only (see box for participating entities).

The rationale is simple: Dubai wants its citizens, residents and visitors to embrace the multitude of e-government services. The initiative is a directive from Sheikh Mohammed and was launched by the Department of Finance (DoF) to boost Dubai’s status as one of the world’s smartest cities.

Dubai wants everyone to shift to smart channels and conduct transactions in the comfort of their homes and offices (see the various government apps available for iOS and Android users).

Although government service centres will be closed on Thursday, customer service centres will still be open to take calls to assist and educate customers about the various online services available, whether via smart apps or the web. Transactions that require presence in person at the service centres will also continue as usual.

“The message we want to get across through the day is that the government is spending millions on the smart infrastructure and online services. It is the future,” said Abdullah Abdulrahman, director of Dubai Municipality (DM) centres. “Instantly, all government entities across Dubai government have started cooperating to make the initiative a success,” added DoF director-general Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh.

The government has been moving fiercely towards making the city one of the smartest cities in the world by 2021. In April, the Dubai Government announced its services will go paperless by 2021, as it launched its Dubai Pulse online portal that will enable Emiratis and expats to access hundreds of government services.

Earlier this month, Dubai leaders also announced the launch of the new Service 1 Centre that provides 14 government services to customers with the help of a single employee using artificial intelligence technology.

Jamal Hamed Al Mari, DoF executive director of central accounts, said that the initiative ‘A Day without A Service Centre’ 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,” he noted.

“I invite 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 Mari concluded