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Dubai Customs urges stronger coordinated border management to reinforce national security

Dubai Customs urges stronger coordinated border management to reinforce national security

DUBAI: Director of Dubai Customs Ahmed Mahboob Musabih has urged boosting coordinated border management to further reinforce national security. He stressed the need for more interagency government collaboration to ensure the safety, security and health of society against growing threats.

“The protection of national security in the Middle East against cross-border threats is today even more important, given the increasing challenges faced by the countries of the region,” said Ahmed Mahboob. “It is therefore extremely crucial to step up government coordination on the national, regional and international levels to safeguard and promote the security of our peoples and nations. This is a huge responsibility on our shoulders, and we at Dubai Customs are committed to efficiently perform our duty in ensuring security against the dangers of  illegitimate trade while at same time fostering the facilitation of legitimate trading. To that end, we have established strong partnerships with security stakeholders in the UAE and across the region and the world.”

Mr. Musabih was speaking at the National Security Middle East Summit which opened yesterday at Grand Park Hotel – Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Under the theme ‘Next Generation Security Solutions for Ever Evolving Threats’, the 3-day meeting is organized by the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC), bringing together a host of local, regional and international officials and experts to explore innovative ways to strengthening security operations in the Middle East. This summit provides an interactive platform for local governments, police and industry leaders to address the urgent challenges relating to national security.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih received ‘Outstanding Excellence in Customs and Border Security’ recognition award from Director of IQPC Michael Champion, as part of the International Awards ceremony presented by IQPC Defence IQ – a military news and research online portal – together with the international advisory committee to recognize law enforcement and government professionals who have demonstrated a long career dedicated to public sector excellence with real contribution towards promoting national security.

In his address to the summit, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih said: “In order to protect the great achievements attained by the United Arab Emirates in such record time, we all need to leverage our performance pursuing the ingenious vision of our wise leadership which entices us to be more innovative in formulating effective solutions that can increase our capacity to better assume our role as protector of society and enabler of economic growth and prosperity to ultimately bring happiness and wellbeing to the people of this country.”

Dubai Customs is fully aware of its national responsibility for curbing the menace of illicit trade, and “in line with the recommendations of the World Customs Organization (WCO), we are very keen on enhancing coordination with local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as with ministries and authorities concerned with the United Arab Emirates’ national security and other ministries and agencies responsible for protecting public health and safety,” said Ahmed Mahboob. “With these government stakeholders we work together to be able to confront and stand against all potential security threats.”

Dubai Customs also works closely with international organizations that are concerned with security matters,  including Interpol, the WCO, the World Trade Organization and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), to enhance  legitimate trade facilitation and security enforcement, whether through the exchange of information and expertise or via direct mutual coordination, he added.

Mr. Musabih was speaking at the National Security Middle East Summit which opened yesterday at Grand Park Hotel – Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Under the theme ‘Next Generation Security Solutions for Ever Evolving Threats’, the 3-day meeting is organized by the International Quality and Productivity Center (IQPC), bringing together a host of local, regional and international officials and experts to explore innovative ways to strengthening security operations in the Middle East. This summit provides an interactive platform for local governments, police and industry leaders to address the urgent challenges relating to national security.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih underscored that national security issues should be dealt with without compromising economic interests of the country. “Transnational threats to national security such as terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, smuggling, illicit trade and more pose a real challenge for law enforcement agencies at borders,” he said. “But with a concerted approach that challenge can be turned into an opportunity.”

In this perspective, the role of Customs is indispensable to control the movement of goods and people across borders, both for revenue collection and protection of consumers and national security. “However, assuming these roles should not impede the flow of trade and passengers, rather there should be an ease of global supply chain,” said Ahmed Mahboob.

“We have set our plans and work strategies to fit in with the UAE vision 2021 and Dubai Plan 2021, and meet the aspirations of our wise leadership for the upcoming years. One of these aspirations is for the UAE to become among the safest nations worldwide by the year 2021.”

Dubai Customs has to face a major challenge, which is to strike such a hard balance between effective control measures on the one hand, and trade facilitation on the other hand, he said.

Ideally positioned as a gateway between East and West, Dubai handles a huge volume of cargo from all over the world as part of its non-oil foreign trade which scored AED 1.331 trillion in 2014. In addition, the thriving tourism and travel sector amplified the flow of passengers via Dubai’s different air, land and sea entry points. About 70.5 million people travelled through Dubai airports in 2014 alone.

“It is not easy for any Customs to deal with such pressing movements of goods and people,” believed Ahmed Mahboob. “Nonetheless, Dubai Customs managed to do so by effective integration of modern information technology and smart technology solutions in its business processes in order to enhance our day-to-day customs operations, particularly in relation to border management and supply chain security.”

In this regard, Dubai Customs developed a state-of-the-art risk assessment system known as the “Risk Engine”, which is tasked with identifying and evaluating potential risks in commercial consignments prior to arrival. “The system resulted in 84% of unsuspicious or non-risky consignments being assessed and cleared electronically in less than two minutes, without any human intervention. All other risky consignments that are suspected to pose threats to national security would be closely monitored throughout their shipping route from the port of origin to the port of destination,” said Ahmed Mahboob Musabih.

The Director of Dubai Customs also highlighted the new advanced X-ray container scanning system and device which was introduced by DC and is at the moment fully operated in Jebel Ali Port, with a double  purpose of expediting screening and inspection processes and streamlining cargo throughput, while at the same time raising up security levels and enhancing the protection of our national economy and community.