Dubai, UAE: – The Ministry of Finance concluded its participation in GITEX Technology Week 2023, in which it showcased its leadership in digital transformation and artificial intelligence, providing metaverse solutions for government entities and facilitating client journeys towards a more inclusive future. The Ministry also showcased its digital systems, projects, smart and innovative initiatives in the financial field.

His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Finance, emphasized that the Ministry is keen on developing advanced financial solutions that catalyze the growth of various sectors within a secure environment, thereby enhancing the UAE’s status as a top-tier economic and financial destination. He said: “The Ministry adopts a proactive approach to provide advanced financial solutions that support various sectors, especially the digital economy and advanced financial technologies.”

At GITEX, the Ministry showcased a range of systems, projects, artificial intelligence initiatives, digital services, the generative artificial intelligence platform ChatGPT – Ministry of Finance, the digital procurement platform, Ministry of Finance Metaverse, the federal asset tracking systems in the metaverse, the suggestion platform, the violation reporting service, supplier registration in the federal supplier registry, in addition to the public revenue collection and public funds services.

A Dialogue Session

The Ministry organized a panel session titled ‘Ministry of Finance Initiatives in the Field of Artificial Intelligence’, presented by Meshal bin Hussain, Director of Information Technology at the Ministry of Finance. During the session, he introduced the Ministry of Finance Metaverse through a prototype of the digital procurement platform. This platform allowed the public to explore products and services to facilitate the digitally enhanced journey of stakeholders. The presentation showcased how the platform improves communication with government clients through features such as ‘Hessa’ – a smart digital assistant (chatbot) that can guide users in completing specific tasks or provide information and other assistance to enhance the user experience through voice or written commands. There was also the step-by-step digital guide, a new feature implemented in the digital procurement platform that guides the user step-by-step on how to carry out purchasing procedures.

The Federal Asset Tracking System was also reviewed using the Metaverse technology. This system was launched due to the Ministry of Finance’s commitment to accurately enumerate and record all federal government assets in financial statements. The system aims to provide a comprehensive overview of all movable and immovable federal government assets, displaying the size and value of the assets on the ground. The system has been implemented at the federal government level in 24 entities, including the Ministry of Finance. The system is integrated with federal systems, from the federal procurement system to the federal financial system. It also automates the asset management process, from registration and transfer to inventory, and more.

Another initiative is Chat GPT – Ministry of Finance. This generative artificial intelligence platform was showcased to the public through a prototype chatbot. The platform allows government stakeholders to explore virtual applications of physical spaces, interact with realistic simulations, and collaborate with others in a virtual environment using features such as meetings, training simulations, and tours of government facilities. Its goal is to revolutionize customer service and empower the Ministry to provide practical support for its clients, leveraging AI technologies to enhance service delivery, engage citizens, and meet the needs of the digital age.

The Ministry also organized a session titled ‘Services 2.0’, presented by Fatima Alnaqbi, Acting Assistant Under-Secretary for Support Services Sector at the Ministry of Finance. The opening speech addressed the efforts of the Ministry of Finance in developing digital services and adopting the latest technologies, systems, and applications as part of the Ministry’s digital transformation journey. This includes the recent use of generative artificial intelligence in several of its initiatives and systems. The session highlighted the UAE government’s vision in developing a new approach to designing government services, focusing on the experience of stakeholders through innovative and efficient means to facilitate their journey. This aims to provide them with simplified, effective, and quick services, prioritizing a positive impact on stakeholders and the broader community, in line with national efforts to make government services in the UAE the best globally.

The session focused on the Ministry of Finance’s experience enhancing its services through this proactive approach. The Ministry identified three priority services and tested them as part of the comprehensive service transformation team’s efforts, Services 2.0. These services are registration in the Federal Supplier Register, advisory support in accounting systems, and responding to stakeholder inquiries.

Digital Services

At its platform within the federal government’s stand at GITEX, the Ministry of Finance introduced the electronic Suggestions Platform, which targets the government, business sector, and individuals. It also introduced the Report on Whistleblowing Cases service, which provides a safe and confidential channel for all the Ministry’s stakeholders, whether employees, customers, suppliers, or partners, to inform of violations.

There’s also the Supplier Registration in the Federal Supplier Register service, which aims to improve the comprehensive service provided to the business sector and highlight the benefits provided to suppliers. Additionally, there is the Collecting Public Revenues and Funds service directed at the government sector, which was developed in 2022.

The Report on Whistleblowing Cases service, offered by the Internal Audit Office in the Ministry of Finance, is provided through an electronic system and a smart app.

This service is part of the Ministry of Finance’s commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and professional ethics among its employees in all its operations, ensuring the proper management of public funds. The Ministry issued a guide to combat fraud in the federal government. The whistleblower service covers criminal offences, fraud crimes, threats to an individual’s health and safety (violence, threats), violations of laws and regulations related to the Ministry of Finance, the suspicion that someone is covering up violations, any real threat or harm to the environment, and behaviours that constitute violations of the laws. The report should contain specific information reflecting knowledge or reasonable suspicion, helping verify the report. There should be reasonable grounds to believe that the information in the report concerns the Ministry of Finance and is accurate and necessary to disclose a serious criminal offence or severe inappropriate circumstances (i.e., provided in good faith).

The service aims to combat corruption and all forms of financial or administrative fraud, preserve the assets and properties of the Ministry, create an exemplary working environment, promote transparency, integrity, and honesty, and encourage employees and partners to speak up about suspicious and wrong practices without fear of negative consequences, and establish a strong institutional culture for employees and stakeholders focused on combating fraud as a cornerstone in the governance system of the Ministry of Finance, ensuring the confidentiality of the whistleblower's identity and protection. Violations against public funds or resources can be informed through Wajib on the website of the UAE’s Supreme Audit Institution.

The Collecting Public Revenues and Funds service for federal entities allows the collection of amounts owed to the state, the development of claims procedures, enforcement, debt settlement, and ensuring the sustainability of the federal government's financial resources. Previously, federal entities would collect the amounts owed to the state from debtors. If they could not collect these amounts, the file would be referred to the Ministry of Justice. Now, applications are made through the Ministry of Finance's website or via a smartphone app. Federal entities can resort to this service when they cannot collect the debt from the debtor. The file and all related documents concerning the debtor are then referred to the Ministry of Finance. This allows the Ministry of Finance to legally replace the federal entity in making claims or settling the debt and taking all necessary legal measures to collect the debt. This is done by applying electronically through the electronic system for collecting revenues and public funds. After that, a request is made to refer the debt file to the Ministry of Finance, including all required data and documents. The Ministry of Finance then has the right to accept or reject the referred file and legally replace the creditor entity. The debtor and the creditor entity are automatically informed about the status of the file, and the Ministry of Finance takes the necessary legal measures for enforcement.

The Ministry also introduced another service called Suggestions Platform, an internal suggestions portal for the Ministry of Finance. The screens of this system are user-friendly and easy to follow, with a tool to evaluate suggestions objectively and impartially, guidelines for submitting suggestions, and the option to submit suggestions collectively/jointly or via voice recording. It also offers a chat feature using Microsoft Teams to discuss suggestions directly through the platform’s pages. There is a link between the internal Suggestions Platform system and the portal of the National Customer Relation Management (NCRM) system, which helps unify the evaluation and follow-up mechanism for suggestions received from inside and outside the Ministry.

The importance of digitizing such services comes from their mechanisms that allow responses to suggestions within a maximum of 10 days from the submission date. Previously, it would take 30-60 working days using the old traditional methods, where suggestions were collected manually from emails, service centres, or suggestion boxes.