DUBAI: Dubai Customs saw significant growth in the number of claims processed for Customs Refund Department in 2022.

Completed claims reached 1.198 million, a 22.3 percent increase from the previous year's 980,000. The value of these claims was around AED 8.7 billion, with 69,000 settlement claims and AED 472 million in customs fees in 2022.

The "Smart Refund System" of Dubai Customs is accessible and round-the-clock, enabling clients to lodge their claims at any hour while simultaneously reducing the expenses incurred by companies.

This system leverages advanced technologies and is continuously updated to improve accuracy and efficiency in calculating and processing refunds. As a result, it streamlines the entire refund process and ensures that refunds are processed with maximum efficiency.

According to Mohammed Ibrahim Al Hashimi, Director of Customs Refund Department, the growth in customs refund and settlement claims reflects the progress made by Dubai's foreign trade sector. As part of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, the sector aims to double Dubai's total foreign trade value in goods and services from AED 14.2 trillion to AED 25.6 trillion between 2023 and 2033. To achieve this, customs services and facilities must continue to develop, and customs refund and settlement services must be improved to meet the needs of foreign trade growth.

The Smart Refund System, which can handle over two million requests annually, is the world's first of its kind and enhances client satisfaction by allowing electronic submission of refund transactions from anywhere, anytime. It is worth noting that Dubai Customs is the first customs department in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries to provide an electronic service for refunding customs duties.

Al Hashimi added, "We have plans to continuously improve performance by enhancing the capabilities of the smart refund system in line with the Dubai Customs' Strategic Plan 2021-2026, which aims to ensure the efficiency of customs services provided to clients in order to provide them with an exceptional experience, increase the return on their business activities, and support the regional and global capabilities of companies that are headquartered in Dubai."

“Continuous improvements to the refund platform aim to quickly, accurately, and transparently return refunds and guarantees to clients without delay, taking a maximum of two working days. This is to provide liquidity to traders and companies in a timely manner, so that they can benefit from it to enhance their trade and business. The smart refund system has many advantages, as it allows clients to submit claims around the clock, seven days a week. Claims are processed quickly through a central unit, and the system automatically verifies the validity of the claims during submission and tracks the status of document submission. It also provides facilities for extending the validity of exports and monitoring the status of claims, in addition to automated email services to notify clients of the status of claims,” he explained.

Al Hashemi affirmed that the advancement of the refund system has enabled Dubai Customs to keep pace with the swift recovery of international trade. “The implementation of this comprehensive intelligent system has significantly boosted the productivity of processing low-risk shipments, with a success rate of 98 percent for local goods transactions.”

Moreover, the automated refund processes can now be applied to all exports and imports in a faster and more precise manner. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, all document uploading and receiving processes have transitioned to 100 percent electronic, and approvals are now done electronically as well. As a result, all services have now become fully electronic.

Khoder Nashar/ Hazem Hussein