Jebel Ali Free Zone (Jafza), the flagship Free Zone operation of Economic Zones World (EZW), has once again emphasized on the need for Smart Government for achieving Dubai’s vision to be among the world’s top economic hubs at Majlis Jafza 2014, held yesterday (June 03) in JW Marriott Marquis, Dubai.
Majlis Jafza is an annual partners’ meet organised by Jafza with the key strategic partners who provide services to Jafza customers. The objective is to address key topics relating to improving service quality and to enhance communication and collaboration among all entities to provide exceptional experience to customers and investors in Jafza and Dubai at large.
The key feature of Majlis Jafza 2014 included a panel discussion on “The Smart Government – Vision and Implementation” which was attended by HE Sami Al Qamzi, Director General, Department of Economic Development, Dubai; Ahmad Julfar, Group CEO of Etisalat and Salma Ali Saif Bin Hareb, CEO of Economic Zones World, the parent organization of Jafza. The panel discussion was moderated by Marwan Al Hal of Dubai TV.
HE Hisham Abdullah Al Shirawi,Chairman, Economic Zones World, in his welcome note emphasised on the critical importance of “Smart Government”, a key initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai last year to achieve the UAE’s vision to be among the world’s finest countries by 2021 while establishing Dubai as a top global business hub.
Al Shirawi said: “To become the most favoured investment destination in the world we should be in a position to provide investors all the services required to establish and start business operation at the fastest and the most seamless way, preferably on the touch of a button. To make this possible we must have smart government in place that thrives on the strength of technology and the collaboration between different service providers to give investors experience far exceeding all their expectations, not only in terms of ease of doing business but also sustainability. We must work hand in hand to achieve our leadership’s vision to become number ONE in the world.”
Salma Hareb commenting on the theme of the event said: “Smart Government is all about empowerment at all levels by making the best use of modern technologies particularly ICT to deliver public services to citizens and business partners most efficiently. We must use technology to foster growth in services, use innovation and new applications to make services more cost efficient while creating a business environment that promotes productive economy.”
The panel discussion took up various points and issues including the pace of eTransformation within government organisations, the provision for high quality electronic services through innovative delivery channels viz. internet, mobile phones and kiosks besides the traditional service centres, as well as, organisation’s state of readiness for eTransformation.
Salma Hareb highlighted challenges and difficulties in the speedy implementation of the UAE’s “Smart Government” initiative and the steps that must be taken to overcome them.
She said: “We are racing against time. Putting in place “Smart Government” at the soonest is a must to achieve the vision of making Dubai the world’s most preferred investment destination. We must muster all the resources and energy at our disposal to lay down the infrastructure and procure technologies for fast and efficient e-Transformation, install necessary mechanism for close and comprehensive collaboration and seamless exchange of information between all stakeholders, to maintain impeccable quality of information, to address security challenges and above all maintaining transparency across the board and establish clear cut understanding of the initiative and the goals among all stakeholders.”
Talking about Jafza’s distinctive achievements in this respect, she mentioned recently launched “matajircom” the world’s first purpose-built smart retail hub. Through this inclusive initiative, EZW, in collaboration with Dubai Customs, puts in place an eco-system that brings all players in “e” domain to partner and collaborate with each other in a synergetic and rewarding experience enabling a customer initiate online trade with utmost precision.
She also mentioned Jafza’s Multi Service Provider project under which itcontinues to develop multi-functional teams that are capable of providing all the services that Jafza offers under one roof and through one employee.
Talking about Jafza’s outstanding e-capabilities under which it offers more than 90% of its services online, she highlighted the fact that Jafza is the first Free Zone in the region that has made all its eservices available on mobile devices through Jafzaapp.
In the context of innovative and smart product she talked about recently launched Jafza One, the iconic self-contained smart business hub, providing companies a single location for all their business needs.
Jafza One is managed by Smart Building Management System (BMS) which provides the facility all green features. It has configurable multi-functional smart card which allows the holder to not only enter the complex but also provides them access to all the facilities offered therein including purchasing goods from retail stores and food courts. The digital billboards in the complex are managed and controlled centrally in terms of content management.
HE Sami Al Qamzi said:
“Smart Government initiative is much bigger than just smart applications. It addresses wider issue including sustainability in terms of adopting green technologies and economic development particularly in positioning Dubai as a global hub for Islamic economy. For the implementation of the initiative re-engineering of all the processesneed to be done to align them with the basic requirements of Smart Government. New processes should subsequently be standardized so that all the organisations and departments may use these applications as and when needed.
“Talking about the important initiatives that DED has recently taken to promote Smart Government Sami Qamzi mentioned DED’s move to grant approval to the contracts allowing the establishment of companies in Dubai. This was in collaboration with Dubai Courts. The move reduced the delivery time drastically. This is a good example of collaboration to achieve excellence.”
Ahmad Julfar said:
“We should use technology as a tool to achieve the larger goal of making Dubai as the most efficient city and the right place for investment. In terms of telecommunication infrastructure we have made available fiber-optic network across the country which has allowed the efficient use of smart phones for accessing information and also conducting variety of transactions in no time. According to a recent report release by Telecom Regulatory Authority the UAE today ranks number one in terms of smart phone usage. We continue to upgrade our infrastructure for the speedy implementation of Smart Government initiatives”
The panel discussion was followed by a Q&A session. The audience availed the opportunity to share their views on Smart Government initiative by participating in an opinion poll through an interactive electronic polling system.
57 percent of the attendees defined Smart Government as mobile applications, new procedures and new services while 17 percent of participants equated Smart Government with mobile applications.
Majlis Jafza concluded with Jafza management honouring its key partners for their continued support that enabled Jafza to reach where it is today. Hisham Al Shirawi and Salma Hareb presented token of appreciation to Jafza partners.