The Government has implemented a pilot Development Assistance Centre (DAC) within the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), to improve the turnaround time for building applications.
Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunication and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, says the current development application approval process has been criticised as being inefficient, in terms of the time taken to process applications.
“Not only is the process reported to be tedious, due to the circuitous route of the applications and the involvement of a myriad of commenting agencies, but it is also costly to both the applicant and the Government,” he told Parish Council representatives and other agency officials at a sensitisation presentation at Jamaica House Monday (March 29).
“Along with the establishment of this two-tier system, it is hoped that the proposed DAC will considerably reduce the processing time for planning applications, thereby improving service delivery to applicants,” he said.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague (right) speaks with Mayor of Clarendon and Chairman of the Association of Local Government Authorities, Mr. Milton Brown at a sensitisation presentation for the soon to be implemented Development Assistance Centre (DAC) within the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA) held at Jamaica House yesterday (March 29).
He further stated that the two-tier system for applications, characterised by large projects (tier one) and small projects (tier two), aims to eliminate the roundabout routing of applications by having the local authority, to whom the application is submitted, fully responsible and accountable for all aspects of the approval.
“The Centre will be opened within the next few weeks (May 3) and will certainly require your support and the support of all,” Mr. Vaz urged.
Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Onika Miller, said the pilot project is expected to evaluate the operations of the DAC, in an effort to determine whether to retain or to replicate the approach at the local level.
She said NEPA has been selected to house the DAC, as it has been identified as having an existing support structure, which will allow for ease in evaluation and absorbing any bumps that a new DAC would encounter within the one-year timeline for the operation.
“Specifically, the DAC will ensure that the applications received by local authorities or NEPA reflect accurate, adequate information resulting in a smooth processing and a decision made within 90 days, as specified by the law,” Ms. Miller said.