New law aims to cut permit red tape

Construction News

A new law set to take effect later this year aims to cut the red tape and delays involved from getting government approval for everything from building permits to export clearances.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam

The Government Permission Facilitation Act promulgated in January and set to take effect in July is intended to streamline government-permit procedures that, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, are too complicated, opened opportunities for corruption and chased foreign investors overseas.

Currently, people seeking construction permits, authorisation for home renovations, import licences and other bureaucratic approvals have to navigate their way through as many as 800 different laws and regulations, Mr Wissanu said.

The new law requires government agencies to declare clearly procedures and timeframes for rulings on applications. It also will allow people to submit permit applications online and set penalties for officials who fail to rule on requests quickly. Mr Wissanu said that he would propose serious disciplinary sanctions for inefficient officials that would impact promotions and transfers.

The law also calls on agencies to set up one-stop service centres for approval seekers and distribute handbooks detailing application processes, he said.

“Initially the Public Sector Development Commission will have 10 out of 150 departments produce handbooks for people within six months and they will include the Customs Department and the Land Department,” the deputy prime minister said.