Acquisition of building permits goes virtual

The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, with the Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom, on Tuesday, launched the online platform for the acquisition of building permits to simplify and facilitate the processes for efficiency.

The automated platform named, the “Permit Process System (PPS)” is operational in the Accra and Tema Metropolitan Assemblies, for now.

Developers and contractors and the public can visit to begin the process.

Hajia Alima Mahama, the Sector Minister, who launched the platform, via live streaming, with support from the Ministry of Information, said the system provided an electronic database of all building and construction permit records with an in-built document management system.

The PPS is one of the outputs of the Business Enabling Environment Project, which began in 2015 with support from DFID.

The project aims is to reduce the time and cost of doing business at the local level with focus on the issuance of a building permit.

The PPS, the Minister said, would provide more transparency and visibility on all building permits since physical activities such as personal submission of forms, payments and inspections would be reduced.

The System has been made user-friendly with the inclusion of a video tutorial with ‘voice over’ which directs applicants through the process.

The System has a citizens’ portal through which external users such as building developers and contractors can log onto and apply for building permits online in the comfort of their offices and homes, track the status of their applications, receive responses to their inquiries, obtain appointments for building inspections and access the list of qualified building agents, such as Engineers, Architects, and Surveyors.

This, Hajia Alima said, was necessary, especially during the period of Coronavirus pandemic where protocols, including social distancing, were being enforced.

The Minister urged stakeholders to make good use of the platform, which helped in reducing the bureaucracy in the system.

Ms Carine Escoffier-Roberts, the Deputy Country Director, DFID, commended Ghana for the bold steps in ensuring the realisation of the project.

She said the platform would help address the unnecessary delays in the issuance of building permits, which slowed economic development.

Ms Escoffier-Roberts expressed the UK’s continuous commitment to support the Government’s digital transformational agenda.

Mr Patrick Ebo Bonful, the President, Ghana Real Estate Developers Association, commended stakeholders for developing the system, saying, ‘It is a good step for the industry’.

He said the manual permit processes were very tedious and challenging but the online alternative would address the gaps in the system.

Mr Ben Hagan, a developer at the Tema Metro, who applied for a building permit for his uncle, testified that the system was convenient after scanning and uploading all the necessary documents onto the platform.

Source: GNA

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