Mon | Sep 24, 2018

PM plans to review building approval process

Published:Wednesday | July 18, 2018 | 11:17 PM

WESTERN BUREAU:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness has expressed an intention to review the process involved in the approval of building permits, which he believes is being negatively affected by territorial behaviour exhibited at the local government level.

Holness made the announcement in his keynote address at the opening ceremony of the Local Government Ministry's inaugural three-day Local Governance Conference at the Jewel Grande Montego Bay Resort in St James on Monday.

"There is one area which gives me cause for great concern, and that is the area of building approvals. In starting a business, we're ranked number five [globally], but in dealing with construction permits, we are ranked at 98," he said.

"We are not practicing the kind of local governance that signals responsiveness as it relates to permitting and approvals."

Holness added, "I will be taking a very serious look at the business process involved in approvals and permitting. I am certain that there are some processes that don't need to exist anymore, and we will just be eliminating those off the list.

"It is amazing that we're in one government, but sometimes we're very territorial, and that has led to a slowing up of the process of approvals. We cannot allow internal territorial behaviour to slow up national progress."

Holness also urged the municipal corporation representatives to make full use of the Application Management and Data Automation (AMANDA) online system, which was developed to fast-track the approval of applications for environmental and construction permits.

The AMANDA system, which was rolled out last December, is expected to improve the ease of doing business with municipal corporations and key government agencies.

"We have put the AMANDA system in place, we have put in the computers to support it, but I gather that the usage of it is not where it is supposed to be. We can't spend all this money to put in a technology-generated support system, and then we don't use it," said Holness