The total automated collection of revenues by the Federal Government through the e-Dirham system during the first half of the current year (January to June 2015) was about AED 4 billion, up 11% from 3.6 million in the first half of 2014 .
The total number of e-services that have been completed through the e-Dirham system during the first half of 2015 rose 9% to 18.7 million from 17 million services in the first half of 2014.
His Excellency Saeed Al Yateem, Assistant Under Secretary of Budget and Revenue at the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said: “The remarkable increase in the number of transactions by e-Dirham reflects the development of the system during the previous years, especially in the capacity and capability to improve the performance and meet clients’ expectations.”
During the first half of 2015, MoF signed two agreements with the e-governments of Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah to adopt the e-Dirham system. The main objective is to automate the revenues collection in both emirates. These agreements reflect the interest of agencies, companies and government entities in adopting the e-Dirham system for service fees collection. e-Dirham’s features and capabilities save time and efforts and can be used to provide better customer service and experience in the UAE.
The signing of the two agreements comes as part of the Ministry’s efforts to widen the scope of establishments and institutions using the e-Dirham. It managed so far to drive many local and federal bodies to use the e-Dirham system by upgrading the quality of offered services; it now includes 14 ministries, 11 establishments and a number of local entities around the UAE.
Since the launch of the second generation (G2) of the e-Dirham system in coordination with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), more than 80 million electronic services were done by e-Dirham while the value of fees collected electronically surpassed AED 17 billion.
“The number of e-Dirham cards has increased to 1.44 million cards by the end of the first half of 2015. This remarkable growth reflects the increase in demand and dependency on the e-Dirham system to perform electronic payments” Mr. Al Yateem said.
The Ministry of Finance managed to constantly develop the system in order to cope with the high increase in number of e-Dirham transactions. This development enhanced the efficiency of e-Dirham and reduces the average time for each transaction to one second.
The number of calls received at the e-Dirham contact centre during the first half of 2015 was 71,412 of which 68,555 were resolved (96% of total calls).. The 24/7 call centre offers services in Arabic, English, and Urdu. In its efforts to improve customer services, the Ministry of Finance hired a specialized and an independent agency to measure customer satisfaction. The study that was conducted showed that 82% of e-Dirhams costumers are satisfied with the level of services offered.
Mr. Al Yateem commented: “The high percentage of customer satisfaction regarding e-Dirham services reflects the advancement and distinction of the system. The e-Dirham is compatible with international payment networks that could be used via shops and outlets and to be used E-commerce via online purchases which accepting credit card payments and the e-Dirham transactions fees are the lowest compared to other cards. It is a pre-paid card that is not linked to personal or corporate bank account”.
“The e-Dirham system enabled the automatic implementation of all processes of paying, collecting and settling the fees for public services offered by the Federal Government. Revenues collected electronically increased to 79.8% of the overall revenues collected in the first half of 2015” Al Yateem added.
With the great increase in the number of transactions through the e-Dirham system, the Ministry of Finance continues its efforts to upgrade the system and develop more advanced solutions and services. The time required to process a transaction is approximately one second only.
The Ministry of Finance recently announced the launch of the collection of the ratification of the certificates of origin and invoices for goods imported to the country from abroad or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by e-Dirham through UAE banks. This provides a transition for all individuals, companies and institutions that are importing goods from abroad allowing them to use the e-Dirham system cards in payments of service fees.
The Ministry of Finance continues its efforts to upgrade the e-Dirham system including the payment of service fees by direct debit from individual and corporate bank accounts, recharging e-Dirham cards through linking them with the payment gateway of the UAE Central Bank, operating e-kiosks for self-service operations like buying e-Dirham cards, paying service fees of public service and getting e-vouchers as an alternative to plastic cards.
In this context, the Ministry of Finance and NBAD expanded the distribution channels by signing a deal to recharge the e-Dirham cards in electronic kiosks deployed in shopping malls and petrol stations in more than a thousand sites in different parts of the UAE, which facilitates using the e-Dirham cards.
The Ministry of Finance strives to ensure that the e-Dirham system keeps pace with the requirements of smart government, including smart services which will be launched soon. This package includes applications for mobile smart devices and offers an e-portfolio of advantages, such as the use of all possible channels to pay Federal services fees from anywhere around the clock for both citizens and residents.
Saif Al Shehhi, Senior Managing Director of UAE Government & VVIP Clients at NBAD, said: "Our partnership with the UAE Ministry of Finance in the launch and development of e-Dirham helps in strengthening and developing the UAE towards modernizing government services and to its customers. This has placed our country in the forefront of Smart Governments. NBAD is keen to continue the development of the e-Dirham system in the coming period to meet the current and future clients requirements. This will help upgrade the effectiveness of payment and collection, by launching new services”.
He also explained that NBAD has appointed a team to study the aspects that contribute to the development of e-Dirham and the ways customers deal with it, such as electronic self-service kiosks that provide all needed services, for traders to buy the cards, recharged them and paying fees and other.
The e-Dirham system is integrated with global payment networks through two national payment gateways and electronic platforms that are scalable. These help to implement safe fulfillment services through a network that links thousands of e-devices and channels in a manner that strengthens the pioneer status of the e-payment and collection systems in the UAE and the region. The e-Dirham system also includes e-attestation by the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the UAE Ministry of Labour, to participate in efficiently implementing public services.