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12.03.2004 General News

Ministry of Lands and Forestry to develop new concept for land owners

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Accra March 12, GNA - Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands and Forestry on Friday said his ministry was developing a concept whereby land owners would use their land as equity for particular projects that took place on their land.

He explained that the concept allowed land owners to enjoy long-term benefits of their land, since they shared profits with project owners and were not paid once for their lands.

Prof. Fobih said this when a nine-member ministerial delegation from Sierra Leone called on him to learn more about land administration in the country and other things that promote democracy.

He said the new concept also led to the generation of employment for landowners since they became part of particular projects that took place on their lands.

He said in Ghana one of the problems that the Ministry faced with lands was the problem of encroachment.

"It is difficult for the government to protect the lands from encroachment since ownership boundaries are not defined," he added.

On issues concerning forestry, Professor Fobih said the Forestry Commission in Ghana managed the forest and it determined the number of trees that should be caught for use in a particular year.

He said the Ministry used part of the HIPC money for afforestation programmes and that had really helped by creating employment for the youth.

Professor Fobih mentioned that the rebuilding of the political system in Sierra Leone was very important, and Ghana was prepared to help Sierra Leone in every way.

He hoped the interactions would not be limited to ministers alone, but would be extended to the citizenry in Sierra Leone. Prof. Fobih presented a national land policy document to the ministers from Sierra Leone.

Dr James Caesar Bioma, Minister of Works, Housing and Technical Maintenance said he appreciated the contributions Ghana had given to Sierra Leone towards the achievement of peace in their country. He said the people of Sierra Leone would want the peace they had achieved to be sustained and they were in Ghana to learn more about democracy and governance.

Dr Bioma said as Sierra Leone was entering the development stage it was important that they learnt more on land use from a sister country like Ghana, adding, "even though we have different land tenure system".

Mr Alpha Timbo, Minister of Labour, Social Security and Industrial Relations, who led the delegation, said such meetings were important to the development of Africa.

"Always our Heads of State meet at Conferences and interact, but Ministers of State do not often meet, it is important that we meet and share ideas," he said.

Mr Timbo hoped there would be more of such meetings to cement the long-standing relationship between Ghana and Sierra Leone.

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