Dubai Customs is one of the oldest governmental departments. Previously known as farada (collection of taxes and duties imposed on the imported goods), Dubai Customs was named "The Mother of the Departments" for its long history. Some current governmental departments took offices in the old customs building and were financed by the revenues collected by the customs department. The departments developed to have their own buildings later on.
With more than 100 years in operation, Dubai Customs went through several phases before institutionalization in the reign of the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who has established an official office to manage Dubai affairs in the first floor of the customs building. This reflects the importance of the customs department and its position in the Emirate of Dubai renowned for trade and traders.
Dubai Customs continued the organizational development and gained good reputation at the regional and international levels. By virtue of its advanced infrastructure and state of the art management facilities and services, Dubai was a destination of choice for investors and businessmen. On 1 April 2001, Dubai Customs entered a new stage when the Late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai issued Law No. (1) Of 2001 establishing the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation i.e. merger of Dubai Customs, Dubai Ports and Free Zone Authorities.
On 1 May 2001 HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-president, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, who was then Crown Prince of Dubai and Minister of Defense and President of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation issued a decree appointing Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem as an executive Chairman of the Corporation. Being a part of a major corporation contributing to Dubai’s economy, Dubai Customs started to reconcile its new organizational position. To do so, a comprehensive review to its structures and operations was conducted.
A detailed report identifying areas of weakness and strength was produced. The report was a starting point for reconsidering the strategy, objectives, processes and procedures. A new strategy, organization structure and way ahead directions complying with Dubai Vision, expectations and future plans have been developed. A Reform and Modernization Program being a tool for achieving Dubai Customs` visions as a leading Customs department in the world and meeting its general objective was undertaken.
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