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14.05.2008 General News

Land documentation to be made simple

By The Statesman

The Legal Director of the Land Administration Project, Kwame Djan has lambasted the practice where areas and vicinities are planned after it has been developed.

He said, various laws on land demarcation and use must be made to work so that haphazard construction of buildings does not disrupt various well planned communities in the country.

"The problem with Ghana is not the absence of laws to deal with problems but the inability and lack of will to apply existing laws is a major problem; planning should rather precede development and not the other way around.'

Mr Djan raised these concerns, at a three day workshop to educate Members of the Parliamentary Press Corps on the Land Commission Bill which will be put before Parliament when it resumes from recess, at Koforidua in the Eastern Region.

Throwing light on the Bill, he said, the 'ad hoc attitude' with which successive governments have dealt with land related issues have resulted in the over 166 land legislations currently in use in the country.

This, he explained is because various laws and amendments are enacted at different times to deal with specific land issues as and when they occur.

Some of these laws, according to him, sometimes conflict each other while some have also outlived their relevance and are also inconsistent with current aspirations in the management and use of land.

The Lands Commission Bill therefore seeks to consolidate all these laws into one document as well as quash irrelevant ones to ensure that they are in tune with the present.

According to Mr Djan, the new Lands Commission Bill if passed into law will house all the various departments and agencies that deal with the acquisition and registration of lands in the country at a site that has already been acquired.

'The proposed bill amongst several other objectives asks for an amalgamation of the eight independent government agencies administering land in the country, and make provision for the relevant ones to be made into sub divisions with the New Lands Commission as the only overriding constitutional body charged with the administration of lands'.

In addition to this, all land documentations would be computerised to ensure swift access to such documents as well as reduce the number of times and in some cases years of documenting acquired pieces of lands, and will also repair the perception that land administration in this country is slow, frustrating and a fertile breeding ground for corruption.

'The configuration of the bill, if approved, will ensure that land use in the country is in accordance with sustainable management principles, see to the maintenance of a sound eco-system and guarantee that land development is done in conformity with the nation s development goals', he noted.

By slarge

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