The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) has reduced the processing time for all building permits within the metropolis to an average of 30 days instead of the 90 days as stipulated in the National Building Regulations 1996 (LI 1630).
That, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the AMA, Mr Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, was intended to do away with the delays and frustrations that characterised the application process in the past.
He made this known when he presented communication materials to the assembly to help in the sensitisation of the ongoing reforms on development and building permit processes in the city.
The communication materials were developed with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group and funding from the Secretariat of Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO).
No regulation for building permit
At present, there is no written regulation regarding the issuance of a building permit although Section 49 of the Local Government Act 462 (1993) states that “No physical development shall be carried out in a district without the prior approval in the form of a written permit granted by the District Planning Authority”.
The various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), therefore, use their own procedures to issue such permits including the composition of its statutory planning committee.
The lengthy and cumbersome permitting process had over the years also encouraged developers to build without permits and adequate supervision which sometimes had resulted in the collapse of buildings in recent years.
Mr Vanderpuije said the main essence of development permitting was to ensure orderliness, safety, good health, convenience and aesthetic beauty within the metropolis.
He said it was also to serve as a vital source of internally generated funds for the assemblies towards the implementation of their plans, programmes and projects.
Therefore, he said the educational campaign the assembly had initiated was intended to inform and educate all prospective applicants and the general public on the permitting process in order to correct the negative perception regarding the permitting process.
Mr Vanderpuije, therefore, urged the media to use the communication materials to inform, sensitise and educate the general public on the development and building permitting process.
Use the materials
The Country Officer of IFC, Mr Joseph Akwesi Kumah, in his remarks, said the IFC strategy in Ghana included the improvement of businesses and investment environment and therefore, the IFC’s support of construction permit reform was one aspect of its overall investment climate.
If successful, he said the construction permit reform would streamline and simplify the permit issuance process and also improve the legal, regulatory and institutional framework for an efficient permit system.
The National Director of the Town and Country Planning Department, Mr Lawrence Dakurah, lauded the effort of the assembly in introducing reforms in the permitting process.
Source: Daily Graphic