A second batch of Parish Council representatives were briefed on the functions and structure of the new Development Assistance Centre (DAC) being implemented in the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to improve the turnaround time for building applications.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern, told those gathered at Jamaica House for the second Sensitization Presentation, that the DAC could ultimately help to bring a number of investments into the country.
“In my Ministry, we have to deal with, on a regular basis, local and overseas investors who question the amount of time it takes to process an application,” he said.
Mr. Stern added that the turnaround time for planning applications in Jamaica is still not on par with international standards, and the implementation of DAC is one way in which this could be addressed.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Michael Stern (right) addressing Parish Council representatives and other local government officials at Jamaica House Tuesday (March 30), during a sensitisation presentation for the Development Assistance Centre (DAC) in the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA). Also pictured are: Director in the Planning and Development Division in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Sonia Hyman and Principal Director, Dr. Andre Minott.
“While persons within the local economy [may] get accustomed to how we operate, when you want investments to come into Jamaica, which is going to drive the country’s growth and employment, we have to match international standards to compete with countries within the Caribbean and other regions,” he argued.
“We have to make a concerted effort, among ourselves, to get more technologically advanced and cut the timeline in terms of how we get things done,” he said.
Project Coordinator, Jacquelin Stevens, said that the functions of the DAC included the provision of pre-consultation information and assistance to clients concerning the project application process; determining the completeness and readiness of project concepts before submission approval; the provision of relevant checklists/guidelines for the submission of applications and coordinate assessment from external agencies.
The pilot project is expected to go on stream as of May 3 and will operate under a one-year timeline.