JIS News

Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, has said that the Government would continue to pursue macro-economic policies aimed at accelerating economic growth.
Professor Hall, who was delivering the Throne Speech in the House of Representatives today (March 29), pointed out that these policies were also expected to result in increased employment, lower inflation, a stable currency, and a more competitive economy.
He noted that a significant aid in facilitating greater economic growth was an efficient development approval process, adding that while some progress had been made in this regard, the process was nowhere near the level of efficiency and effectiveness that was desired.
Professor Hall pointed out however, that the shortcomings would be addressed through legislative and administrative changes; the streamlining of the ‘division of labour’ between the various agencies in the central and local government; and the delegation of appropriate authority to the executives of approval bodies, so that they could make certain decisions without requiring board approval.
“The government will seek to ensure that the process of approvals is as objective as possible and not subject to ‘regulatory capture’ by either those who favour approvals of development proposals or those who are against them,” the Governor-General stated.
Pointing to the efforts that would be taken to achieve this objective, he revealed that a Development and Investment Manual would be launched within a few weeks.
“It will comprise some seven volumes and 55 sections. The manual is not a static document but represents a work in progress and is intended to guide developers, professionals, private sector individuals, civil society and government officials requiring information pertaining to planning, environment, subdivision of land, infrastructure, mining, tourism, agriculture and other development activities and standards,” he explained.
This manual, Professor Hall informed, has been produced as a co-operative effort of the Cabinet Office, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In addition, a new building code and a new draft National Building Act are being finalized. These, he said, would provide the rules, guidelines and standards for building construction in Jamaica.
Turning to the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands, Professor Hall said that during this Parliamentary year, the Ministry would be transformed to enable it to more effectively service the needs of the agricultural sector.
He noted that following the success of the Ministry’s ‘road show’, the government would also implement a comprehensive programme of financial and technical assistance aimed at strengthening the linkages between agriculture, tourism, and the manufacturing sector.