The Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi (DED) is due to start on Sunday, 8th April, the process of issuing electronic trade licenses whereby all clients will have to submit the required documents in an electronic format. Mr. Mohamed Moneef Al Mansouri, the acting Executive Director of the Commercial Affairs Division at DED, stated that this measure is being introduced within the framework of DED's endeavor to upgrade and promote the process of issuing trade licenses in Abu Dhabi using electronic means, aiming to accelerate the issuance process towards the fulfillment of the Emirate's ultimate goal of shifting into an E-government. He said such a measure would back Abu Dhabi government's efforts towards shifting into an E-government with regard to measures and transitions of issuing licenses for trade activities in Abu Dhabi. He said this measure will ease the standard procedures required for issuing a trade license, help towards economizing the use of paper, consolidate the environment protection efforts and minimize the file storage and archiving costs, and will also ease their retrieval in a manner that improves the provision of services, and saves the time required for the clients and the DED to fulfill their transactions.
Mr. Al Mansouri indicated that the total number of archived documents of trade licenses that have been stored using the old traditional methods in the period from January through November 2011 amounted to 26,388 whereas the total number of archived pages amounted to 484,429 and the Xeroxed pages amounted to 1,88,847. He indicated that such transactions require enormous efforts and are time-consuming, which will be significantly reduced through the implementation of the electronic archiving system. Such an approach will also increase productivity and transactions that will be accomplished right on time. He added that Abu Dhabi witnessed a momentum of commercial activity over the past few years, which contributed to the rise in the number of transactions and trade licenses. He indicated that in the second half of 2011, the number of trade licenses issued in Abu Dhabi amounted to 295,515, compared to 79,655 licenses issued in January and February 2012 alone. He added that the paper files of the trade license transactions, which DED archived using the old mechanism, in fact showed the enormous size of trade transactions related to the issuance, renewal and amendment of licenses as well as those related to other administrative measures such as advertisements, permits and booking a registered trademark etc. To ensure successful implementation of the electronic archiving system for trade licenses in Abu Dhabi, DED has drawn up a plan to raise the client's awareness in a manner that qualifies them to idealistically be able to handle and interact with DED in this particular measure. Towards this end, DED will organize workshops, establish contacts and distribute booklets that show sound mechanisms of handling DED's Customer Service center in Abu Dhabi. The DED has organized three workshops in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region for 70 owners of printing houses, aiming to acquaint them with electronic archiving and transactions. During the workshop, trainees were trained on ideal scanning the documents required for electronic trade licenses in a manner that eases the required measures for both customers and the Customer Service employees.To ensure smooth processing of trade licenses, DED is seeking to draw up an awareness plan via a variety of communication channels, most prominently different media outlets so as to acquaint clients with dealing with the Customer Service centers when inquiring about the documents necessary for their transactions.As of next week, DED will start distributing guiding booklets to customers to acquaint them with the mechanisms whereby they can have all necessary documents issued smoothly. This incorporates the archiving system's general targets, general guidelines and the recommended sitting for scanning a document, apart from a list of 63 file names which an applicant should abide by when saving an electronic file. DED will start next week sending SMS to all clients to inform them of the date of receiving their transactions electronically and define the importance of their interaction with the Customer Service centers in a manner that eases DED's implementation of this new system. The DED's Trade License Department has recently conducted a successful practical experiment to apply the electronic archival system by receiving a number of online transactions and then handling them. The experiment showed facility for promptly accomplishing the procedures, saving time and effort, and fulfilling transactions in no time. During the workshop, owners of printing houses in Abu Dhabi, the Western Region and Al Ain were instructed to ask their clients to scan their original documents only using TIF, JPEG or PDF. However, it is preferably to scan documents using PDF format, otherwise no other formats would be accepted. Scanned documents must be clear and readable when verified against the original documents. The workshops also emphasized that it is necessity for a customer to save all his scanned documents on one file when presenting them to the DED's Customer Service center, especially if the total number of pages exceeds 30 pages, such as in cases of contracts etc... The workshops have also illustrated that owners of printing houses, when naming a file, must give the trade license file the same name of the document. For example, if a file contains a passport copy, then the file must be named passport only. Such a measure is meant to make the process of saving and retrieving files easier for the Customer Service employees. Mr. Mohamed Moneef Al Mansouri, the acting Executive Director of the Commercial Affairs Division at DED, called upon customers to abide by all the online technical terms and conditions in order to ensure successful online issuance of trade licenses. He indicated that DED from now on, will distribute guiding booklets to all customers to acquaint them with such measures.He expressed his wish that people would interact with DED's measures towards its strategic objectives of fulfilling Abu Dhabi government's aim to promote its electronic transaction standards.