Mr Martin Esoun Benjamin, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Development Authority, on Thursday, said the solution to land-related problems, lies to a large extent, with the agencies charged with the delivery of land survey and land and estate valuation.
He said Ghana's inadequate land policy and regulatory framework and underdeveloped land registration problem accounted for the large numbers of land-related disputes pending before our law courts and said these problems had impact of growth and development of the country especially the agricultural sector.
Mr Esoun Benjamin said this when he chaired the 40th Anniversary lecture of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors.
Surveyors are people with the art of science of valuing and describing all land properties, managing and developing estates and have the ability of making measurement to determine positions above or beneath the surface of the earth.
Mr Esoun Benjamin said: “Your Institution may therefore be the only one which better understands the basis of the many pockets of land disputes in Ghana and the ineffectiveness of the planning systems of our cities, towns and villages, as your members work hand-in-had with the Town and Country Planning departments at various levels.”
Connecting the work of a surveyor to his outfit the Millennium Development Authority, he said the goal of the MDA was poverty reduction through economic growth and agricultural transformation and noted that improved land tenure for existing land users and to facilitate access to land for commercial crops in the Districts under the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) was critical.
The MCA is a development fund announced by former President Bush with the purpose of promoting economic growth in developing countries like Ghana.
Mr Esoun Benjamin pointed out that easy access to land underpinned the success of some of the project of the MCA Ghana programme and called for the sustainability of land reforms as the cornerstone to any successful revolution in agriculture.
Mr Jonathan Allotey Abbosey, President of the Ghana Institution of Surveyors, who gave the lecture on the topic: “The Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Ghana: A Reality or a Mirage? The Role of the Surveyor,” said the surveyor had a key role to play in the achievement of MDG 7 which focused on environmental sustainability.
MDG 7 stipulates that member states should ensure environmental sustainability by 2015 by integrating the principles of sustainable development into country's policies and programmes and halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Mr Abbosey said land degradation, slum and informal settlements, forest depletion, insanitary conditions and pollution of water bodies took place on land which is considered a critical resource needed for the achievement of the MDGs.
He therefore called for further efforts by the government to operationalise the MDGs and integrate them in its day-to-day activities since they are considered as the basic or minimum requirements in the provision of social services and infrastructure.
Mr Abbosey also called for a well-motivated human resource, cost effective and transparent land administration system and up to date spatial data including orthophoto maps and plans of customary lands.
“Surveyors have a key role in land administration and management and our records say that only about 20 percent of the country has large scale maps,” he said.
He called on customary land owners with large tracts of land to engage the services of professional surveyors with relevant expertise if even on a part time basis to assist them manage their lands.
Mr Abbosey stressed that surveyors had a critical role to play in the achievement of the MDGs.
About 65 newly qualified members who have passed the institution's examination were admitted into the profession.