New decrees issued to reduce official approval times

The central government took steps to speed up approval processes and eliminate certain regulations covering the importation of low-risk merchandise.

The orders came from four decrees signed by President Laura Chinchilla and Mayi Antillón, minister of Economía, Industria y Comercio.

The decree stipulates that building plans be studied in 30 days and not the current 90 days. In an administrative resolution the Instituto Costarricense de Acueductos y Alcantarillados was told to reduce to a single day the issuance of certificates that water is available. This is a requisite for construction.

The registering of certain agricultural chemicals for use in the country would be reduced form 20 months to 10 months, and approval of environmental impact studies would be reduced from a year to three months, according to the decrees.

Construction plans would be maintained in a digital format and study and approval would be done at the same time by the various institutions involved, according to the decrees. Approvals are needed by the Cuerpo de Bomberos, the water company, the Ministerio de Salud and the Instituto Nacional de Vivienda y Urbanismo. Now the various agencies study construction plans sequentially.

The digital system would be run by the Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos.

The purpose of the decrees was said to be to increase the competitivity of the country. The success of the plan usually relates to how the various agencies interpret the requirements.

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