‘Rules-based’ Electronic Planning & Development Single Window system launched

-to place Guyana in top 10 for construction permission regionally

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To enhance transparency and reduce prolonged waiting times for planning and building applications, the Ministry of Housing and Water, Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) on Wednesday launched the Electronic Planning and Development Single Window system.

The platform was introduced less than a year after the Planning and Development Single Window System Act was passed in the National Assembly.

Through the single point of entry, applicants can submit, monitor and track the progress of their applications. Once an application is submitted, applicants will receive updates about its status via email.

President Dr Irfaan Ali delivered the keynote address at the launch of the Electronic Planning and Development Single Window system (Photo: Ministry of Housing & Water/June 19, 2024)

In an effort to increase efficiency and transparency in decision making of applications, the process will be subject to deadlines to ensure the timely processing of applications.

The system digitally refines the ease of doing business in Guyana. It significantly saves time and applicants are expected to receive response within 30 to 45 days. Prior to this, responses took three to four months.

Delivering the keynote address at the launch, which was held at the Arthur Chung Conference Center, Liliendaal, President Dr Irfaan Ali said the platform is meant to be transferable and will be shared with all countries in the region.

“We are ready to export this. Home grown. Homemade…And I don’t believe in this region we can point to a system of this nature.

“This definitely has to put us in the top ten when it comes to permitting when it comes to construction. This is innovation at its finest,” President Ali said.

Government Ministers and other persons at the launch of the Electronic Planning and Development Single Window system (Photo: Ministry of Housing & Water/June 19, 2024)

With the rapid expansion in the country’s economy, particularly, in the construction sector, President Ali said the system aims to provide a “one stop shop” for permission and claims.

“No one can hold your application any longer on their desk and believe they have all of God’s time to approve it.

“It is a significant shift to a more rules based system. It’s taking away human bias…The system must work…the system must be trusted, the system must be efficient,” President Ali said.

In her remarks, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, said the system stands as a testament of the government’s commitment to modernization, transparency and efficiency in delivering services.

“With the increase development and application volume, the move to introduce a more automated process became a necessity.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing & Water, Susan Rodrigues at the launch (Photo: Ministry of Housing & Water/June 19, 2024)

“We are committed to ensure we introduce e-governance platforms to promote transparency and accountability. To employ the use to technology and innovation in delivering goods and services and modernising the legal and legislative framework,” Rodrigues said.

For the period October 2020 to May 2024, Rodrigues said the CH&PA considered 3,611 planning permission applications.

136 of the applications, she said, were directed to the oil and gas sector.

“This system removes any and all forms of bias and demonstrates commitment to fairness.

“The use of technology and timeframes prescribed by law completely removes any form of subjectivity and even reduces opportunities for corruption,” Rodrigues said.

The Electronic Planning and Development Single Window system governs the implementation and management of the system while setting clear timelines for decisions which enhances accountability, transparency and creatability.

A unit will be housed within the CH&PA department to manage the day to day function of the system, maintain an electronic database, and assist users, among other duties.

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