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Development approvals nets $1 trillion in Govt revenues

The central role of the local authorities and the Jamaica Fire Brigade in the development approval process continues to add value to economic and social fabric of the country.

“Since 2016, 37,577 applications were received for processing. The value of the applications approved is $1 Trillion, 499 million!” stated Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

“It goes to show that in the scheme of things, local government is in the big league. Housing projects cannot happen without local government. Commercial activity cannot happen without local government. Tourism, our biggest foreign exchange earner, cannot happen without local government. There is no development small or large, that is not subject to the development approvals process.”

He was speaking recently during his 2023 Sectoral Presentation.

Most approvals were done within the 90-day benchmark time.

Construction is one of the most skills-driven and labour-intensive sectors in the world- employing engineers, skilled and casual workers, artisans, and a wide range of goods and service providers. This is also the case in Jamaica.

Some 5,945 applications were received for the 2022 calendar year, reflecting an investment value of $264.8 billion. There was a 150% increase in the number of applications received for resort developments with 73% being for larger resorts.

There was a 5% increase in the number of commercial development applications, with 49% of these applications being for larger developments.

Additionally, there was a 5.4% increase in the number of large residential development applications submitted.

“I want to acknowledge the hard work of the local authorities and the agencies that together, undertake the huge responsibilities critical to assessing development applications in Jamaica,” said Minister McKenzie.

“I also want to remind the House that the three Boards established under the Building Act – the Building Practitioners Board, the Building Appeals Tribunal, and the Building Advisory Council – are all operational and available to the public.”

The Minister also added that the approval rate has not dipped below 84% in more than 10 years. He emphasized that structural safety, zonal compliance, and environmental integrity are the most prominent issues when applications are considered.

“Applications for large and more complex developments, such as apartments and hotels, some of which are over 300 square meters in size, will take longer to assess and in some cases have to be sent back for adjustments if they are to be approved. We must remember too, that Jamaica is squarely within an earthquake zone. Our infrastructure has survived these tremors and quakes because of the rigor of the development approvals process.”