The total automated collection of revenues by the Federal Government through the e-Dirham system during the first quarter of the current year (from January to March 2015) was about AED 2 billion from more than 9 million services.
His Excellency Saeed Al Yateem, Assistant Under Secretary of Budget and Revenue at the Ministry of Finance said: “The remarkable increase in the number of transactions that took place through the e-Dirham is a result of the efforts exerted by the Ministry of Finance to promote the payment system.”
Mr. Al Yateem added that the Ministry will introduce more smart services during the Cards and Payments Middle East exhibition and conference to be held on May 12 and13 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC) at Dubai World Trade Centre, in which prominent institutions, companies and experts in the field of electronic payment systems are expected to participate.
The Ministry of Finance had spared no effort since the launch of the e-Dirham in 2001 to constantly upgrade the payment system’s features and capabilities with the aim of meeting the expectations of citizens and residents who deal with government departments, His Excellency said.
The launch of the second generation (G2) of the e-Dirham system in coordination with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi in 2011 brought more than 70 million e-services of the Federal Government under the umbrella of safe and secure payment processing. Service fees collected electronically in 2014 alone surpassed AED 15 billion, compared to AED 6 billion in 2014, Mr. Al Yateem said.
“About 1.3 million ‘Al Haslah’ e-Dirham cards are currently in use across more than 5,000 point-of-sale and electronic collection machines throughout the country. Moreover, clients can pay with all other types of cards issued by banks inside and outside the country, if they are compatible with the e-Dirham system,” Mr. Al Yateem said.
Customer service centres to inform and guide e-Dirham users are operational 24/7 and offer services in Arabic, English and Urdu, he said.
“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, replacing manual cash payments. We estimate that the efficiency of financial return is 85% of the value of the revenue collected through the system, thanks to automation of the collection process,” H.E. said.
Smart services package
“The Ministry continues its efforts to upgrade the e-Dirham system and innovate more advanced solutions and services, 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,” Mr. Al Yateem said.
The Ministry of Finance strives to ensure that the e-Dirham system keeps pace with the requirements of smart government, including the soon-to-be-launched smart service package. 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: "We are proud to team up with the Ministry of Finance in the launch and development of e-Dirham. Our partnership reinforced the UAE’s mission to develop government services and facilitate them to customers and put the UAE at the forefront of smart government.”
Mr. Al Shehhi added: “NBAD will continue to develop E-Dirham system in the coming period to meet the current and future clients’ requirements and that will help us to upgrade the effectiveness of payment and collection through launching new services. We have appointed a dedicated team to develop e-Dirham and look for methods to make it hassle-free for clients, for example electronic kiosks for self-service which provide all services such as card purchase, card recharge, payment and other services.”
The UAE Ministry of Finance launched the e-Dirham system with an aim of developing multiple electronic channels and digital payment gateways for the collection of fees for the services offered by the Federal Government, by using prepaid cards, and implementing all payment, collection and settlement processes of these fees automatically instead of using manual processes.
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.