Dubai Customs is the first Customs administration in GCC to provide online refund facility.
The in-house developed Smart Refund System has processed 1.5 million claims in 2014 & 2015, compared to 818,000 claims processed during 2012 & 2013; which demonstrates an 89 per cent growth.
The Smart Claim and Refund System provides a centralized platform to streamline and simplify refund and claim procedures of guarantees deposited under duty-suspended cases.
It identifies revenue leakage in the refunds given by Dubai Customs, as well as develops and delivers People, Process and Technology (PPT) solutions to support the same.
The system also is meant to help Dubai Customs calculate refunds in a more accurate and simplified manner, thereby reducing revenue leakage and significantly minimizing the refund time.
The smart refund facility was well received by customers, with nearly 1.5 million online refund requests having been lodged through the system since its launch on October 1st, 2013. The new system has processed claims worth AED 13 billion; including AED 809 million in refunding deposits, saving AED 8.5 billion in clients’ accounts.
The system has also generated an accumulative Customs revenue amounting to AED 3.6 billion in 2014 and 2015, reflecting a 71 per cent increase over the AED 2.1 billion generated in 2012 and 2013.
His Excellency Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said, “The Smart Refund System helps Dubai Customs strike the right balance between enforcing effective control measures and facilitating flow of trade to and from Dubai. It saves customers time and effort and ensures refunds are made in a fast, accurate and transparent manner which makes Dubai even more appealing for investors around the world.”
“Today, the system is able to handle up to 1,800,000 refund claims per year, or about 5000 per day, bringing many benefits to clients and Dubai Customs,” he added.
The new system, added bin Sulayem, supports various functionalities including 24/7 online claim submission, bureau submission facility, centralized claim processing unit, automated upfront validation during claim submission, tracking of documents submission status, facility to request time validity extension for exports, facility to track the status of claims, automated email service to inform customers on the status of claims, end-to-end claim processing including financial settlement, as well as mobile-based claim submission and claim tracking service.
H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director of Dubai Customs, said that “With this holistic refund system, Dubai Customs is able to focus resources on high-risk areas while increasing the productivity of the clearance process for low-risk shipments, which constitute nearly 98 per cent of local goods transactions. The automated refund process can be consistently applied to all imports and exports, and is significantly faster and more accurate, with transaction delivery refunds approvals 86 per cent faster than before.”
Showcasing the salient advantages of the system, Ahmed Mahboob explained that “Importers and exporters now enjoy a much faster refund process, due to the process time decreasing to only 3 days and some claims are approved within minutes using automated clearance process.”
“On the other hand, Customs enjoys 50 per cent improved staff productivity through the upgraded infrastructure, increased Customs revenue by 71 per cent, a more structured and controlled working environment, enhanced professionalism, and improved inter-department coordination. The new system also results in a substantial increase in government revenue and promotes free and fair trade,” he added.
The Executive Director of Customer Management Division at Dubai Customs Abdullah Al Khaja stressed that “Dubai Customs is very much aware that the continuous development of top-notch Customs procedures and systems to deliver user-friendly smart services that are both cost efficient and time saving is the only way to ensure its mission of protecting society and sustaining economic growth through facilitation and compliance is constantly met. The latest smart refund system was not an exception.”
Al Khaja pointed out that “The system is a great addition to an array of innovations adopted solely by Dubai Customs. It provides a one-stop platform for claims and refund processes, by relying on latest high-tech applications in this field.”
The Director of Customs Refunds and Makasa Department Ms Ghaneema Ibrahim Ahmed underscored that “‘Innovating to stay relevant’ has always been a highly-cherished motto of Dubai Customs. In its ongoing quest towards the leading Customs Administration in the world supporting legitimate trade, Dubai Customs has never ceased, and will never cease, developing and reinventing to live up to that vision.”
She detailed that the new Smart Claim and Refund System was developed for the purpose of regulating refund procedures of all cash and bank guarantees, including the deposits paid as security for the goods imported under a duty-suspended case.
“The system is an intelligence-enabled risk management framework with systematic application of refund procedures and practices that provide refund officers with the necessary information and tools to address risks, while ensuring compliance throughout the refund process,” Ms Ahmed added.
She further underscored that one of the most important advantages of the system is creating a huge database that can be used for other purposes, such as risk analysis, predicting future trends and others.