FCA - UAE,Federal Customs Authority -United Arab Emirates

FCA - UAE,Federal Customs Authority -United Arab Emirates

8 pillars customs strategy to combat Corona pandemic

UAE Customs sector attained success in implementing integrated strategy to cope with Covid-19 virus consequences, known as Corona, a strategy that contributed to protect community and customs workforce in border ports and key centers, and secure community members basic needs and commodities safely and in timely manner.

On course to tackle Corona, the strategy adopted by FCA and local customs departments embarks on 8 key pillars represented in process of procedures, completing customs transactions easily and simply while taking precautionary arrangements and actions, effectuating customs clearance transactions via smart applications, intensifying control over imported shipments, taking security and safety steps to ensure that admitted shipments to state are virus free and intact.

Customs strategy, across the state, further aim at protecting customs workforce in key premises and customs ports against the virus, issuing guidelines on how to handle inward shipments, mechanism of practice and health guidelines, and launching awareness and health initiatives targeting sector staff members as well as the community in addition to collating and analyzing statistics on commodities and goods' movement and furnishing the same to competent authorities in the country to support decision making nationwide.

H.E Ali Saeed Matar Alneyadi, Commissioner of Customs - Chairman of FCA, said that thanks to the directives of Emirates wise leadership, its early prompt perceive to Corona virus outbreak crisis consequences, the country was able to avoid massive risks, and contributed to siren an early alert in government sectors to get prepared for tackling this crisis and promote community members awareness.

His Excellency highlighted that customs sector response once initial indications of Corona virus appeared was extremely swift and positive and the Authority and local customs departments have taken crucial measures in terms of customs, health and security to impede virus outbreak and meanwhile, secure community's basic needs.

Corona virus pandemic, H.E added, represents not only an immense challenge to customs sector across the State due to health, security, economic and social consequences but also a significant opportunity to reinforce this sector's abilities in managing crisis, emergency and disasters and remote working, and also an opportunity to unleash potential energies reservoir in this sector to oversight future, innovation and creativity in setting outlook strategies to ensure tackling such crisis and challenges.

As for the pillar of processing procedures, completing customs transactions easily and simply, Customs sector strategy incorporated a set of procedures and initiatives the most significant of which; remote transactions completion, insertion of all e-clearance system requisite papers without customers touching thereof, providing thermal inspection devices for testing customers prior entering service centers, travelers and truck drivers and providing customs centers with preventive safety tools as sanitizers and purification.

Moreover, customs centers are keen to facilitate moving imported goods to local market, suspended dealing with cruise vessels and dhows save as exceptional cases, in addition to cutting duty hours and working days for customs clearance officers, banning entry of trucks to State allowing trade trucks only, banning sailors entry to ports or free zones and laying down business continuity plans while ensuring business free of impacts.

To this extent, Authority's initial statistics indicate that UAE food stuff trade volume with all other countries (direct trade and free zones) amounted AED 29.5 billion during the period from December 2019 until March 2020 whereas imports and exports accounted for AED 20 billion and AED 5.1 billion respectively while re-export accounted for AED 4.4 billion.

As for the pillar of remote working mechanism and facilitating clearance transactions handling via smart devices, the Authority and local customs departments authorized phased remote working methodology the first phase of which included administrative functions, staff with chronic diseases and pregnant female employees with a view to be expanded to apply the same methodology on all departments save as customs inspectors practicing inspection functions in customs centers where working hours are cut in some ports, shifts are increased to achieve social distancing between inspectors and workers in addition to dedicating an e-mail for each customs port and finalizing clearance transactions via smart applications.

H.E Commissioner of Customs - Chairman of FCA ascertained that the magnificent achievements made by customs sector in the state in developing services, handling transactions and promoting local competencies levels, infrastructure, smart and systems and programs featured by the sector particularly prior e-clearance, advanced inspection instruments are of the most important factors that helped the sector confront Corona challenges and address the same in professional and skilful manner.

The Authority and local customs department have intensified control over inward shipments particularly those coming from the countries with spreading virus, by reducing manual inspection, extending X-ray inspection and scanning, communicating with competent security and health authorities upon suspecting any shipment, sanitizing the shipments arriving from hot spot countries on regular basis to reach to suspending transacting with some countries with spreading virus.

As well, security and safety measures have been taken to ensure that shipments allowed to be admitted to State shall be intact, this is achieved by reinforcing cooperation with competent authorities, and by assistance of many of these authorities inward shipments, parcels, offices, inspection yards, building and other customs buildings of custom functions are carried out.

H.E Ali Alneyadi added that the Federal Customs Authority extended required supports to the Supreme National Committee for Emergency, Crisis and Disasters from the outset and effectively participated in all its meetings and cooperated with all concerned entities in the State with a view to mitigate Corona virus spread across the state. In this regard, His Excellency extended praised all customs departments and customs sector affiliates in relevant countries and competent authorities for their tangible efforts exerted to augment customs sector and State's abilities to confront the crisis.

In the domain of protecting customs sectors workforce from being infected by the virus, the Authority and local customs departments adopted number of initiatives that included authorizing business continuity plan, remote working, reducing the number of employees and working days to bring down staff assemblies, terminating fingerprint system, providing sanitizing tools, gloves, face masks and adding thermal testing devices for employees and customers as well as sanitizing and disinfecting workplaces constantly, distributing awareness publications to employees, placing posters and guidelines on prevention of Corona disease, prohibiting entrance of more than one customs to customers happiness centers simultaneously and keeping distances in the crowd.

Moreover, the Authority and local customs departments issued a number of circulations to its employees on how to handle shipments, prevent Corona infection, and introduce precautionary measures to be applied in addition to health, safety and security guidelines, personal protective equipment and the applicable mechanism to interact with employees arriving from trips or business missions from overseas countries.

Since crisis inception, the Authority and local customs departments inaugurated set of health and customs initiatives embodied in conducting workshops addressing remote working, business continuity plans, launching video applications for employees communication, organizing remote specialized training courses and taking precautionary health procedures to maintain the wellbeing of elderly, of determination and with chronic diseases citizens, instructing employees to refrain from traveling abroad, forming health conditions follow up committees and preparing medical chamber and quarantine for suspected cases.