JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness has called on leaders in the public sector to embrace the Applications Management and Data Automation (AMANDA) System as the country works to create an environment that is more conducive to local and international investments.
  • The web-based application is aimed at improving ease of doing business with municipal corporations and key government agencies, and providing greater transparency in the development approvals process.
  • The Prime Minister said that mayors have a crucial role to play in its implementation.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness has called on leaders in the public sector to embrace the Applications Management and Data Automation (AMANDA) System as the country works to create an environment that is more conducive to local and international investments.

The web-based application is aimed at improving ease of doing business with municipal corporations and key government agencies, and providing greater transparency in the development approvals process.

The Prime Minister said that mayors have a crucial role to play in its implementation.

“I am appealing to them to lead the implementation of that system. I am appealing to the heads of the various other agencies – National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA), and so forth – to be forward-leading and embracing,” Mr. Holness urged.

“I am using this platform to say to the leaders in the public sector, lean forward into the AMANDA system. Let’s start embracing it and making it work; otherwise, I would really have to sit down and figure out how do I enforce this and it can be done,” he added.

Mr. Holness was speaking at a National Competitiveness Council meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister on November 15, where he addressed public-sector partners on the 2019 Doing Business Report (DBR).

The meeting was held to discuss improvements that will have to be made in business reforms in order for the country to rise to the Top-10 ranking in the DBR.

In the latest DBR report, Jamaica was ranked 75th of 190 countries. This represents a five-point slide downwards from the previous ranking of 70th in the 2018 DBR. However, Jamaica is the top-performing country within the Caribbean and is in the top six within the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region.

Prime Minister Holness said that the country has undertaken several business reforms over the years, citing implementation of the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), which has significantly improved the effectiveness and efficiency of operations of the Jamaica Customs Agency.

“I would encourage Jamaica Customs to keep at it, keep your stakeholders engaged and complete the reforms that you are doing there,” he said.

He noted that the Government is moving to implement other reforms, including improving the monetary policy rules; increasing the independence of the Bank of Jamaica; and ensuring that the country has a flexible exchange rate.

Prime Minister Holness, in his address to the National Competitiveness Council, acknowledged that much of the “lag time” in doing business is related to new rules and regulations that have been put in place.

Some of these rules, he said, are generated internally and others externally, by virtue of international treaties and other obligations, with which the country has to comply, particularly as it relates to anti-corruption issues.

He noted, however, that “at the stage of development that Jamaica is in, we have to now focus on both compliance and outcome. The two things cannot be perceived to be in conflict with each other, and I think that is where our bureaucracy (public sector) is right now”.

In the Doing Business Report, the country’s best-performing indicator was that of Dealing with Construction Permits, which moved 22 points upwards as a result of the passing of the National Building Act in March 2018.

Jamaica also earned the 12th spot in Getting Credit, while slipping marginally to sixth in the Starting a Business indicator.

Jamaica will have to focus on improving its Getting Electricity indicator, which had the largest decline by 24 points. Other areas for attention are Registering Property (131st), Trading Across Borders (134th) and Protecting Minority Investors (89th).