DEVELOPERS, PLANNERS, design professionals, other members of the private sector, and government regulators have until mid-February 2014 to submit a comprehensive recommendation on how to simplify the country's development application approval process.
The move comes out of a joint effort between the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development stakeholders' consultation to discuss the Development Application Approval Process (DAAP) in Jamaica.
Speaking at the consultation, which was held at the National Environment and Planning Agency's (NEPA) head office in Kingston on Tuesday, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change Robert Pickersgill admitted that previous efforts to reduce the cumbersomeness, inefficiency, and red tape in the development approval system have not been effective.
"I must admit the interventions have not gone far enough, and the agreed tinkering has not been followed through; hence, the tendency and practise to revert to bottlenecks and inefficiencies. The thinking is that if the Government and the regulators could find a way of reducing decision time (bureaucracy) as to whether to approve or not, the economy would experience an additional three to six per cent growth in GDP," said Pickersgill.
He further noted: "Let me make it absolutely clear this morning that the Government that I am proud to be a part of is not going to tolerate or continue with the bureaucracy and the accompanying disincentive to growth in an economy that is struggling and with IMF restrictions and conditionalities. Jamaica does not need the imprimatur of the multilateral organisations to fix the DAAP, and we must do so."
Formation of a committee
As a means of moving forward, John Junor, chairman of the Natural Resources Conservation and the Town and Country Planning Auth-orities, proposed the formation of a committee, with representatives from the various stakeholder groups charged with critically reviewing the current DAAP with a view of significantly improving the process.
The committee will be chaired by Peter Knight, chief executive officer/government town planner of the NEPA, and will comprise representatives from public and private-sector bodies.