24.08.2006 Business & Finance

Ghana Institution Of Surveyors Holds Annual Seminar

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The Government should appoint land surveyors for all District Assemblies to assist in sound land management and provide geo-spatial data for effective physical planning and enhanced revenue generation, Professor George Gyan-Baffour, Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning said.

Speaking at the Ghana Institution of Surveyors seminar yesterday, he said this would ensure a sound land administration procedure for economic growth and poverty reduction.

The seminar under the theme: "Enhanced National Revenue Generation through Sound Land Administration" was to enable the institution to revisit its activities and find ways to minimise the operations of quack surveyors, who have infiltrated their operations.

Professor Gyan-Baffour said the Ministries of Lands, Forestry and Mines and Local Government, Rural Development and Environment must ensure that the District Assemblies got surveyors to help to survey and map Ghana.

He said pressure on the land was not acute by Western standards as the average population density at the time of the 1999 population census was 77 persons per square kilometre as compared to 242 persons in the United Kingdom, with almost the same land mass.

However, the customary sector, made up of stools, skins, clans and families lands covers about 78 per cent of the total land area in Ghana with 20 per cent owned by government which called for a sound land administration procedure, he said.

Prof Gyan-Baffour said the Land Administration Project (LAP) being implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines, was the Government's solution to the land problems and called on the surveyors to collaborate with the Ministry to achieve the desired objective.

He said the benefits of a successful implementation of the LAP were many and included improved security of tenure and certainty of land rights for increased investment as land was the basis of most economic activities.

Prof Gyan-Baffour said to be able to meet all commitments the institution would have to resort to a system of full cost recovery since the Government alone could not fund the progressive development of geo-spatial information.

Prof Dominic Fobih, Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, said the numerous land cases at the courts called for timely access to justice for all and promotion of Alternative Dispute Resolution practices.

He said the LAP, which was progressing steadily, was the first phase of a long-term programme to develop a sustainable and well functioning land administration system that was fair, efficient, transparent, cost effective and decentralised. He called on surveyors to be interested in all national deliberations and to come out with their contributions on any issues the Government or civil societies were engaged in.

Mr Amo Mensah, President of the National Institution of Surveyors, said the seminar had been given an international touch by inviting participants from Optech Incorporated, Canada and Sokkia Geotech Systems to enhance information transfer and knowledge acquisition.

Topics to be discussed include customary land demarcation to enhance land management and revenue collection and Alternative Dispute Resolution in land administration and quality service delivery.

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