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1.1 Improvement of the Development Applications Review Process

 This project responds to the Doing Business indicators for dealing with construction permits. In 2007, a review spearheaded by the Cabinet Office revealed a number of inefficiencies in the development application review process that caused complications and delays for potential developers, and ultimately created an environment that appeared hostile to infrastructure investments. 

The Government responded to those findings by designing a project that would simplify the application process and reduce the response timeframe for all applications to a maximum of ninety (90) days.  Some of the major achievements under the project to date include the establishment aDevelopment Assistance Centre (DAC) and documentation of the applications process to provide guidance to developers in the submission of their applications; gazetting of a new Building Code aligned to international standards; implementation of the AMANDA web-based tracking system in more than 50% of all  Parish Councils (PCs) to allow online data input and application tracking; and promulgation of a formal policy requiring a maximum 90-day response time for all categories of development applications. These actions have allowed us to improve our Doing Business Rank under this indicator moving from 74 out of 178 countries in 2008, to 52 out of 189 countries in 2014. However, as indicated in the table below, while the Government has improved the development applications review process we still have a far way to go.

 

Jamaica

Global Benchmark[1]

Regional Benchmark[2]

Indicators

2008

2014

2008

2014

2008

2014

number of procedures

10

8

6

6

9

8

timeframe for obtaining permits

236

135

34

26

149

123

% per capita income cost

438

207

1.5

1.1

5.9

5.2

 

While much has been achieved under the project, further improvements are planned over the next five years to, implement the AMANDA web-based tracking and monitoring system in all Parish Councils, as well as the other government agencies that are required to provide comments on development applications. This will allow us to obtain tighter management of the system and allow developers to track their applications online. We will have to amend our policies and legislation to enable the improved business process changes and use of technology, and streamline the methodology for charging and payment of fees to ensure transparency. We will develop a National Spatial Plan, and ensure that each Local Planning Authority (LPA) has a Local Sustainable Development Plan and Development Order to provide applicants and Parish Councils with a clear point of reference for requirements and priorities for national development. In keeping with making the applications process easier, the Government will also ensure our post application approval monitoring processes are strengthened to improve compliance rates for developers.

By 2018 we would have taken very important steps to improving our Doing Business Ranking under this indicator to be closer in line with the regional benchmark, which will encourage an increase in the number of investment projects across the island.



[1] The global benchmark is provided by the best performers globally for that indicator: 2014 - Hong Kong (# of procedures); Singapore (timeframe); Qatar (cost)

[2] the regional benchmark is based on the best performer among comparator economies (as identified by the World Bank) in the region for that indicator: 2008- Grenada ( # of procedures and timeframe), Trinidad and Tobago (cost) |2014 - Grenada (# of procedures & timeframe); St. Kitts and Nevis (cost)