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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Improvements to island’s permitting process are introduced

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi and Permits Management Office Assistant Secretary Félix Rivera

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia, Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC by its Spanish acronym) Secretary Manuel Cidre and Permits Management Office (OGPe) Assistant Secretary Félix Rivera announced Monday the first phase of improvements to the Single Business Portal (SBP), a platform for the permit application process in Puerto Rico, to improve permitting.

Pierluisi said one of the areas of most significant impact on the economic development and the reconstruction of Puerto Rico is the permitting system.

“In recent years, we have made progress since the single permit system was established through the Single Business Portal. It has been necessary to continue innovating and looking for ways to minimize and simplify the requirements for our people and our entrepreneurs to obtain their unique or construction permit, among others,” the governor said. “With this in mind, the DDEC and the OGPe have worked to optimize the SBP, so that it is a digitalized platform, easier to use and with greater storage capacity.”

“The SBP improvement process included consultations with its users to ensure that it addresses areas that presented difficulties in its use,” he added. “Using the most modern technology, this first phase of optimization of the SBP turns it into a much more automated and more user-friendly platform, particularly in the two main products, the single permit and the construction permit, which represent 60 percent of applications.”

The system can achieve electronic validations, more inter-agency integration, greater capacity to manage the number of users and superior cybersecurity, the officials noted. Likewise, it allows the user to know if something needs to be added to the presentation of their information, preventing a permit from being paralyzed for a long time due to a lack of information.

Cidre said improving the permit application process has been one of his priorities since he began directing the DDEC, as it will allow Puerto Rico to become a more competitive jurisdiction when doing business.

“To achieve this, we spare no effort to identify and develop the best technological resources, in addition to training staff, so that they can offer excellent service to users,” Cidre said.

The new system is available for all users in the island’s 78 municipalities. Meanwhile, in this first phase of optimization, 20 municipalities have joined efforts to work on procedures for the automatic validation of the single permit and construction permit. They include numerous municipalities under OGPe, an autonomous municipality and the ABC consortium, which comprises the municipalities of Aibonito, Barranquitas and Comerío. The other towns are Gurabo, Trujillo Alto, Toa Alta, Naranjito, Morovis, San Sebastián, Lares, Moca, Cidra, San Lorenzo, Hormigueros, Florida, Aguas Buenas, Corozal, Sabana Grande, Orocovis and Ciales. The municipalities were chosen for aspects such as environmental risks, diversity of cadastre types and the impact of special laws. This guarantees a short validation time, ensuring compliance with applicable regulatory frameworks.

The OGPe official, meanwhile, noted that they worked to accomplish a technological and modern transformation that will benefit the agility of the permitting process.

“New measures were implemented to reduce bureaucratic processes and workflow, so that all permit applicants can have a better experience. In addition, we have given priority to the optimization of the Construction Permit and the Single Permits, since they are the ones with the greatest demand and volume in the SBP,” Rivera said. “In the next phases, more municipalities will be integrated, along with the optimization of other consultations and procedures.”

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