AMANDA to the rescue
The Application Management and Data Analysis (AMANDA) system has already been implemented in all parish councils and in eight referral agencies and is said to be well on the way to achieving its objective of reducing the length of time for development approvals.
Veneice Pottinger Scott, head of the Public Sector Modernisation Division, said the tracking system is a critical part of public-sector reform, which is aimed at improving the climate for doing business.
AMANDA will allow the Government to track approval of construction permits across all parish councils in Jamaica. Pottinger Scott said the turn-around time for business approvals is being lowered from an average of 124 days.
"Our assessment of what has been happening is some improvement, but we are not there yet, where we want to be," she said.
capacity building needed
Patricia Francis, chair of the Public Sector Transformation Committee, said that the public should appreciate that there will be the need for capacity building within the public sector for the implementation of the AMANDA system.
"You will have a time period in which capacity building needs to be done because some of these external agencies, the kind of personnel that you have in place are not really computer literate so that we have to be not only putting equipment in, but training and getting people up to speed," she said.
Francis further said that with the AMANDA system, persons who make development applications will be able to track the process online and be able to respond to any concerns that have been raised.
"With that level of transparency, professionals can sit on top of things, and I think you will have a much better situation," she said.
Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips has said that in the course of this year, all relevant agencies will be using the AMANDA software, and this is intended to include the commenting and other referral agencies.