Dr. Mohammed Abdulla Al Mehrezi currently serves as the Director General of the Customs Development in Ras Al-Khaimah. He holds a PhD in General Administration- emphasis added taxes- from the University of Canberra in Australia and a Master›s degree in literature from the University of Westminster in UAE. He previously served as General Director for Civil HR Services RAK, Director Chief of Staff Office GHQ, and Higher Education Director GHQ Armed Forces.
RAK Customs Department›s services are delivered at twelve customs centers spread all over Ras Al Khaimah ranging between land borders, seaports, airport and free zones.
RAK Customs Department was established in 1930 and is thought to be one of the earliest government authorities in Ras Al Khaimah. Please share with us a brief history about the department.?
Ras Al Khaimah has a long history as a key trading centre within the region and the many watchtowers and forts along its coastline specifically point towards its heritage involving maritime trade. As a result, RAK Customs Department is one the earliest established government authorities in Ras Al Khaimah. Since it was created in 1930, the department has been responsible for the application of the laws and statute concerning customs policies, procedures and operations, as agreed upon by the GCC countries. RAK Customs Department is actively facilitating trade, eliminating barriers constraining the flow of goods, combating trading fraud including money laundering and, limiting the penetration into the UAE society of prohibited and restricted items such as drugs, weapons, counterfeit commodities and currencies.
RAK Customs continues to maintain it’s leading position alongside many achievements the department has witnessed. What do you feel is the biggest move forward that RAK Customs Department has made over the last few years?
In late 2012, the department completed the construction and moved into its new twelve floor Head Office building that has enabled us to develop our administrative sections to better support and meet the ever-growing needs of our twelve operational centres, whilst providing our customers with the high level of services that they demand and deserve.
Our continued drive and determination to introduce improved systems to further expand and facilitate our customer services led us in early 2014 to invest in and implement, our new electronic Dhabi Customs Clearance systems, at our land border crossing, four ports, international airport and Central Post Office. This was followed In March 2015 with the further expansion and roll out of the system to our centres covering the four free zone areas located within RAK. The activation of Dhabi with the assistance and support of our partners, brothers and sisters within Abu Dhabi Customs, has been a major milestone achievement and it means that going forward, we can now develop and offer our E-clearance services and SMART applications. Additionally, the system provides the first opportunity for us to link electronically with other ministries and local departments to streamline the approval process and facilitate effective sharing of information.
How is RAK Customs in line with the UAE’s 2021 vision?
Our department’s Vision, Mission, Corporate values and Strategic goals are decided upon to ensure our active contribution and participation in achieving the planned targets of both the Ras Al Khaimah Government and the UAE Federal Customs Authority. Therefore our department is totally in line with the relevant and applicable key performance indicators detailed under ‘Safe Public and Fair Judiciary’, ‘Competitive Knowledge Economy’ and Sustainable Environment and Infrastructure’, within the country’s 2021 Vision.
Ras Al Khaimah’s geographical location allows easy access for companies to take advantage of the trade flows. What role has RAK Custom’s department played as a trade facilitator?
Under the leadership and guidance of HH Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of RAK Customs Department. Our Department takes a major role in supporting and facilitating the trading community within Ras Al Khaimah through the services it provides and is proactive in maintaining excellent relationships and partnerships with the various competent authorities and companies, many of whom are well known leading international brands. RAK offers a diverse range of high quality trading opportunities and areas in which existing companies can expand and potential new investors can create and establish market leading facilities from which they can serve the region and beyond. RAK free zone trading areas offer industrial and commercial premises and or land, with all services and utilities available whilst still within easy reach of the major commercial and transport hubs of neighbouring emirates.
Companies based within RAK benefit from being well connected via excellent transport infrastructure links to these hubs and are able to take full advantage of the more affordable and lower operating costs available in the emirate. Plus, they are able to reside in an altogether more environmentally pleasing area with the stunning Hajer Mountains to the east and the turquoise blue waters of the Arabian Gulf to the west. The ports within RAK continue to develop, expand and diversify, offering their customers first class services based on international standards which cover a wide range of maritime based operations. RAK International Airport (RKT) is actively expanding its number of airline operators and routes, and the passenger and cargo volumes are steadily increasing. RKT is an international airport, which is investing in its infrastructure and developing its connections within the region and beyond and importantly, it is without the congestion and potential for delay, often associated with other major airports in the region.
What does the future hold for RAK Customs Department?
Between 2010 and 2015, the value of trade handled by RAK Customs Department has grown by 48.6% and we are able to complete the documentation, inspection and clearance of goods for import, export/re-export and transit at all locations, within a very small time period (hours/minutes). For this reason and when compared to the customs clearance times required at other first points of entry into the UAE and Free Zones, our department is able to offer a significant competitive advantage to those choosing to use Ras Al Khaimah. We intend to build on this factor at the same time as continually improving and increasing the services that we offer, whilst constantly maintaining effective custom border controls for the safety of the country and the region, through the deployment and use of sophisticated and technically advanced inspection and examination systems and devices. By doing so, we guarantee that RAK Customs Department continues to significantly contribute to ensure doing business in RAK, becomes ever more streamlined and efficient so as to further support the economy, security and safety, of the emirate and the UAE.