Govt launches online platform to streamline planning, building permit process

The government, through the Ministry of Housing and Water’s Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA), on Wednesday officially launched the Electronic Planning and Development Single Window System.

The innovative platform aims to streamline the planning and development application process, enhancing the ease of doing business for local and foreign investors.

President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali delivering the feature address at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC)

The Single Window System serves as a unified entry point for all planning and development applications, allowing users to submit, monitor, and track the progress of their applications from anywhere in the world.

Applicants will receive real-time updates on their application status via email, and the process is subject to strict deadlines to ensure timely completion.

The introduction of this system is expected to significantly reduce the processing time for permits, from the previous three months to an efficient 30-45 days.

The Single Window Platform can be found at the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CHPA)

Speaking at the launch ceremony at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC), President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali emphasised that this system distinguishes Guyana as a regional leader in technological innovation and business efficiency.

Reflecting on the past, President Ali said the government found it unacceptable that millions in investments and thousands of jobs were being delayed due to the cumbersome ‘red tape’ within the CHPA.

With Guyana experiencing rapid transformation and expansion, the implementation of this technologically advanced solution was not only necessary but also imminent.

“The system is totally antiquated for the type of development and the speed of development taking place. The only way we can catch up and the only way we can be relevant is with technology gains,” the head of state underscored.

President Ali also highlighted that apart from expediting the process time, it will allow the government to identify inefficient agencies and individuals.

“It is taking away the human biases and making it more rule-based, system-based and that is how we want the country to run…The system must work,” the Guyanese leader asserted.

The portal was developed locally by the National Data Management Authority (NDMA) with support from the private sector, which the president said can be shared with other countries.

“This entire platform is meant to be transferred to all the countries within this region so we can all improve our doing business indicators, enhance competitiveness and transparency,” the president stated.

He also believes that the launch of the portal is expected to position Guyana in the top 10 when it comes to planning and development permits.

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues

Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues emphasised that the system represents the government’s commitment to modernisation, transparency, and efficiency in delivering government services.

“For many years we have heard the clarifying call to reduce bureaucracy, cut through the infamous red tape, and create a business-friendly environment in Guyana. Today we are taking a giant leap forward in fulfilling that promise,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC), Komal Singh recalled that in 2020, some US$1 billion in investments were lost, due to the red tape system that was in place to facilitate investments.

A unit has been established to manage the day-to-day functions of the system, maintain electronic data, and assist users.

The National Assembly approved the Planning and Development Single Window Platform (PDSWP) Bill in July 2023, laying the legal framework for the management and implementation of the digital portal.

It benefitted from extensive consultations with various local, regional, and international organisations.