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The Government of Jamaica has launched a Development and Investment Manual, in its move to provide clearer guidelines and improve the overall approval process for both developers and investors who are desirous of conducting business in the island.
The manual, which was drafted in conjunction with the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is expected to be finalized before the end of the year.
Minister of Development, Dr. Paul Robertson, who launched the document today (November 8), at Jamaica House, said “the manual represents a critical step towards streamlining the approval process”.
“As we all are well aware, an efficient approval process is absolutely essential to creating an environment which is conducive to the facilitation of business,” the Minister emphasized.
Dr. Robertson said the manual was an improvement on work previously done and would be regarded as a first edition, which would be subject to revision over time.
“This expanded version will include sections on planning, environment, roads, drainage, quarrying, mining, sewerage, water, electricity, (and several other matters). Each section will be separate and complete in its own right, and will be made available to developers and investors seeking information on government requirements for any particular investment or development activity,” he explained.
Offering congratulatory remarks, Mission Director of the USAID, Karen Turner, said the manual signified “another important step in Jamaica’s effort to strengthen its attractiveness as a preferred place to do business”.
Miss Turner said the Legislation, Regulations and Improvement Process Project (Legs & Regs), under which the manual was developed, was one of the many transformative initiatives to which the USAID has given financial support, in assisting the government to streamline the efficiency of its public sector agencies.
“The most critical factor in the success of the activities undertaken through Legs and Regs, is the leadership and foresight of the public and private sectors in Jamaica, which are working together to identify priority areas for reform, and their ability to diligently press on to take the necessary steps to actually reform the way business is conducted in Jamaica,” she said.
The USAID, according to the Mission Director, has previously partnered with government agencies, such as the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC), the Pesticides Control Authority (PCA), the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) and the National Land Agency (NLA) to modernize their systems, improve work flow management, and improve customer service capacities.
Of the immediate benefits expected to be derived from the manual, Miss Turner said it should “clarify and demystify the process of approval and (awarding of) licences”.
“It will provide developers and investors with the relevant information needed to successfully complete the process to obtain all required permission and approval; it will enable the process to be changed in a more transparent way, if that is what is needed to facilitate achievement of Jamaica’s business development and investment goals,” she added.
The manual is comprised of seven comprehensive volumes, that outline stipulations developers and investors will need to fulfill before undertaking their businesses in the country. The complete manual will be made available on the Internet, while specific sections will be accessible at a number of government agencies.