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A Development and Investment Manual which outlines the policies, regulations and procedures involved in taking an investment project from planning to implementation was launched today by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller at Jamaica House. The manual is a collaborative effort between the government and the private sector, with support from external partners, and is seen as a useful information tool for development agencies, existing businesses and new investors.
In her remarks, Mrs. Simpson Miller said one of the responsibilities of government is to ensure development takes place in a planned and orderly manner that protects the natural environment. She said over the years decisive actions have been taken to put in place the legislative and regulatory framework needed to safeguard the natural and built environment, including the strengthening of regulatory agencies such as the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
“We have put in place measures to deal with the use of obsolete pesticides and chemicals. We have sought to encourage greater use of bio-degradable products and packaging and the management of hazardous waste,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
On the matter of development planning, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the government was in the process of fast-tracking the preparation of new sustainable development plans and orders for all parishes and major urban centres. Work is also underway to streamline the development approvals process to make it more efficient and reduce the processing time. The Planning and Building Sections of some Parish Councils have been supplied with computers and other equipment to enable them to access relevant data from other agencies of government.
Turning to the Built Environment, Mrs. Simpson Miller said the government was in the process of finalizing a new national building code based on international standards and that this should be completed by October. A National Building Act was also being prepared and this should be completed in early 2008.
Work on the manual was coordinated by the Cabinet Office, with inputs from a wide range of government agencies and private sectors partners. The 2,248 page document was finalized with the kind support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Canadian Agency for International Development (CIDA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).