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09.05.2008 General News

Volta landowners urged to harmonize interests

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Mrs Christine Bobobee, Acting Stool Lands Administrator, on Thursday urged land owners in the Volta Region to harmonize their interests to enable them reap the real value of their properties.

She said the current clumsy practices in local land administration that result in multiple claims to ownership only served to scare potential investors from coming into the region.

Mrs Bobobee was addressing a workshop on the establishment of Customary Lands Secretariats (CLS's) attended by traditional rulers, landowners and developers in Ho.

The CLS concept, which brings together landowners within a community into a sort of cartel to document all land transactions and rationalize procedures of acquisition in the area, is a component of the Land Administration Project (LAP).

Mrs Bobobee said the system held a lot of promise for the Volta Region where land belonged in bits-and-pieces to families, clans and individuals.

She said the CLS would become a virtually one-stop point for land seekers for verification, contact with owners and documentation of transaction and an important link between landowners and public land registration authorities.

Mr George Nti, a facilitator, said the overall benefits to the community include peace building and promotion of community development.

He said the CLS was demand driven, meaning beneficiaries would have to apply and meet certain criteria for support, which include provision of computers, photocopiers air-conditioners steel cabinets office furniture and skills training.

Mr Nti said on the inception of the Secretariats, the project office would collect data on all documented land transactions, digitize manual data for integration into the local data base and also provide mentoring, monitoring and evaluation services.

He said the beneficiaries would provide their own offices, staff and their emoluments, and maintenance of equipment.

Mr Mark Kakraba-Ampeh, National Facilitator, said so far 10 CLS are operational, another 10 in the offing and 30 by the close of the first phase of the project.

He said the LAP project aimed at tackling the weak administration system characterized by fragmented institutions, general indiscipline in the land market and the indeterminate boundaries of customary owned lands, stools, skins and families.

Regarding the concerns of participants regarding likely difficulties in getting land holding families to come together to run the CLS, Mr Kakraba-Ampeh stressed that the system was meant to be entered into by willing participants.

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