Legislation to allow single-window system for businesses for Parliament soon

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In creating a business- friendly environment and easing the pressures that entrepreneurs face when starting up businesses, the government intends to present legislation to allow a single-window planning permit system to the National Assembly before year end.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, made the announcement Monday during a consultation session with stakeholders.

For many years, persons looking to start up a business have to move from agency to agency to fulfill various requirements. However this initiative will improve the ease of doing business.

Using an electronic based documentation system, this will reduce time for steps that must be followed for transactions, filling the standardized application forms, and meeting the checklist and processing time.

“Traditionally, the national and local government bodies in Guyana have comfortably manage the volume of development applications using simple paper based workflows with only modest use of technology…the government has recongised the need to introduce a far more automated process that streamlines workflow both within the CHPA and with stakeholder agencies that are part of the overall approval process”, Minister Rodrigues stated.

Stakeholders attend a consultation session on the implementation of the single window planning permit system (Photo: DPI)

With this initiative, the stakeholders from the various agencies involved in the approval process will be able to keep updated with the progress of the application rather than having the applicant go from agency to agency.

“The goal is to have an integrated electronic permitting system where the agencies will no longer operate as silos but rather within an integrated mix of processes that take place concurrently,” she said.

The minister said “the era of running from one ministry to another ministry to access services needs to be re-examined.” Hence the initiative is customer eccentric and focused on getting information across faster.

Further, Rodrigues said the smooth flow of the system will allow persons to either know if they are approved or denied approval faster.

In addition, persons will be able to see why they were denied and can then take steps to rectify their application if they want to.

“This is an initiative to bring certainty and predictability to the approval process by clearly identifying the requirements for various types of development, reducing unnecessary steps in the process or redundancy in the process,” the Minister said.

She added that it also increases accessibility because persons can go to the portal from anywhere in the world and track their progress while staff can track applications.

The consultant who overlooked the planning for the system, Fareed Amin, said several steps are being pursued to ensure that the system runs smoothly. He said a committee is being considered to head the initiative and overlook its effectiveness.

He noted that it is in the developmental phase and therefore several consultations for improved Information Technology (IT) solutions and recommendations on how the system can be improved are being held before it is presented to the National Assembly.

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