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26.02.2009 Regional News

Lands Commission losing revenue in Western Region… Due to absence of a Director

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Some WORKERS of the Western Regional branch of the Lands Commission have expressed concern over the absence of a substantive head to see to the day to day administration of the Commission.

The workers, who expressed this concern in separate interaction with The Chronicle, told this reporter that looking at the vast land and the mineral wealth in the region, there should be a substantive head to direct affairs at the regional secretariat of the commission.

The absence of a substantive regional Director, according to the workers, had affected the revenue base of the commission and that they could not meet their revenue target last year.

The workers claimed that the processing of land documentations at the Commission was moving rather slowly, due to the backlog of documents at the commission, which ought to be cleared by a substantive Director of the Commission's final signature.

This revelation by the workers has exposed why many clients of the commission have been complaining about the slow pace of land processing at the commission.

One of the workers openly admitted to this reporter that –“in fact, there are a lot of problems here and the earlier it is solved by the new Minister, the better it will be, in order to save the commission from sinking”, he added that “how can you have lands documents sitting here for five months as a result of the absence and final approval of the signature of the Director, and you still expect to meet your revenue target', the source questioned.

The regional director of the Regional Lands Commission, Mr. Hans Gori is on a year study tour in the United Kingdom (UK) and the regulations of the commission does not permit him to come back to duty after the study tour.

Therefore, what this means is that if a new Director is not appointed to head the region, the commission would be without one. The region is one among five other regions which do not have substantive Directors to see to the day-to-day administration of the commission.

Sources have confirmed to this reporter that the Central regional Director of the Commission is now the Acting Director of the Western Region office of the Commission. Consequently, he has been frequenting the Western office twice a week from his Central region base, to see to the administration of the commission, which is at a cost to the commission.

The office is footing his meals, hotel bills and other expenses for the two day administrative work that the acting Director comes to perform in Sekondi.

These financial expenses, the workers explained to this reporter, could be curtailed if a new Director was appointed to head the region's office.

The workers also revealed to this paper how some traditional chiefs in connivance with staff of the Commission have been re-registering lands already purchased and paid for.

Meanwhile, the National Treasurer of the Ghana Timber Association (GTA), Mr. Isaac Kofi Nketsiah and some other timber merchants in the region have appealed to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to expedite action on the appointment of a substantive head for the office of the Lands Commission in the region. In an interview, they admitted that the absence of a substantive director was not the best and that urgent measures must be put in place to address them.

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