Dubai – MENA Herald: The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai has launched a new service for owners of business licenses to have them renewed automatically through a simple text message (SMS). Introduced in partnership with Etisalat and du, the service allows owners to request license renewal by sending a text message to ‘6969’ after which they will receive a payment voucher, provided all due DED requirements are fulfilled. The license owner can then proceed to pay electronically or manually at the nearest outlet and complete the renewal process.

The initiative is part of the strategy and ongoing efforts of DED to facilitate doing business in Dubai and improve the competitiveness ranking of the UAE in the Doing Business Report of the World Bank. The automatic renewal covers 2,096 commercial activities that do not require external approvals, accounting to 99.8% of licenses under various legal forms, except four licenses that require external approval from the Roads and Transport Agency (RTA).

“We launched the automatic renewal service earlier in 2015 under our ‘Hassle Free’ initiative and since then we have been following up on its progress over four months and working on developing the service over the next seven months based on the feedback and suggestion from our customers,” said Omar Bushahab, CEO of Business Registration & Licensing (BRL) Sector in DED.

“When we did a survey among our customers, 90% of them said the Hassle Free initiative has improved the licensing and renewal procedures remarkably. It inspired us to bring about a quantum change in our services, particularly in improving customer satisfaction and ease of doing business. Through eliminating challenges for investors and businessmen we are able to make Dubai more competitive and achieve sustainable economic development,” Bushahab added.

The new service means a significant majority of license holders in Dubai can renew their licenses and complete fee payments in two steps, without any paperwork. Bushahab said DED will continue to develop the service for improved customer satisfaction and help them save time.

“The renewal of trade licenses constitute the largest share, in fact up to 70%, of the daily transactions processed by DED and its service centre network. In order to make it easier for investors and businessmen, we have integrated the registration of new contracts to the license renewal system in partnership with the Real Estate regulatory Agency (RERA),” said Bushahab.

Bushahab also lauded the cooperation between government agencies in overcoming obstacles and facilitating approval processes, which he said reflected the spirit of teamwork and the leadership’s directives to embrace best practices in ensuring customer satisfaction and service. He said such co-operation and efforts will go a long way in positioning Dubai in the forefront of places to do business internationally.

Commenting on the launch, Ahmad Aburahima, Senior Vice President – Government Relations, du said: “Our aim at du is to enhance the convenience and standard of living for entire communities across the UAE. This is a demonstration of our staunch commitment to the UAE leadership and its vision for the future by adopting the best practice global standards and integrating technologies that will enable luxury living in the future smart city”.

“We are staying ahead by adopting global best practice standards in the field of information security and ensuring the utmost confidentiality of financial transactions. We look forward to enhancing our cooperation with the Department of Economic Development in Dubai, and playing our role as a national institution for consolidating the UAE as a contender in the smart city race across all international levels,” added Aburahima.