KINGSTON – Finance Minister Dr. Peter Phillips has said that the country should hear from Cabinet on the issue of the development approvals process within the next eight weeks.
“Cabinet will be saying something more specific. I agree that there are billions of dollars worth of investments that are being held up in the local authorities or the governmental apparatus which, if unlocked, could add another per cent or two to our growth rate,” the finance minister said last Thursday during a question-and-answer session at the Economic Reform Programme Stakeholders Conference at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
Dr. Phillips was responding to concerns raised by former president of the Incorporated Master Builder’s Association of Jamaica Donald Mullings about the approvals process in the construction sector. Mullings complained that despite a promise from the Government that approvals would not take more than 90 days, there were “lots of projects languishing at the Kingston and St Andrew Corporation”.
Mullings said that he had knowledge of project approvals being held up for as long as three years. He said that he had seen projects which could yield billions for the country being held up indefinitely.
“The point was well taken. Cabinet is mindful that there have been many attempts spanning administrations but we still have not been able to find an adequate solution. It is still a matter under consideration, we are engaged in dialogue with the parish councils and we are committed to this 90-day time horizon,” Dr Phillips said.
“What we need is to find a way to ensure that the procedures in the various parish councils are standardised and that we are also able to identify the causes of any impediments,” the finance minister added. (Jamaica Observer)