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06.07.2004 General News

Land Department to introduce new measures for lands documents processing

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Ho, Jul. 6, GNA - New policy directives being implemented at the Lands Department is to increase efficiency and considerably reduce time that clients have to wait for the processing of documents, Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands and Forestry said in Ho on Monday.

He said applications for land title documents, properly presented and with adequate information should take between 30 to 60 days to process. Professor Fobih was addressing Heads of Departments under his Ministry as part of his two-day working tour of some establishments and projects under his Ministry in the Volta Region.

He said it was unacceptable for investors to wait for sometimes up to 12 months or more for land titles to enable them to commence business.

"No investor with money to invest would want to be pinned down here for that long, he would rush to another country", he stated. Professor Fobih said Front Desk Customer Service centres at Lands Department offices, manned by well-informed and conscientious officers would now receive applications, give, acknowledgment receipts, and then pass them on to schedule officers.

Professor Fobih said the practice of clients routing their applications through preferred officers, regardless of their schedule of work, gave rise to confusion and corruption.

He said, all officers were now expected to wear tags with their names and designations, saying that employees who deride this measure were only afraid that it could curtail their nefarious activities. Professor Fobih regretted that sometimes causes for double registration of some lands could be traced to the Lands Department. He said government had secured a 20-million dollar loan for a phase by phase Land Administration project, under which inventory would be taken of all public lands and also increase the land management capacities of customary land administrators.

Professor Fobih conceded that land administration in Ghana was fraught with a lot of problems because of the multiplicity of ownership modes and boundary disputes but urged staff of the Lands Department to take the situation as a challenge.

On forestry, the Minister said the dwindling forest resources as against the rising need gave rise to the current stringent preservation measures.

He asked Forestry Officers to desist from "passing the buck", pushing on people to higher authorities when they could simply tell them that what they were asking for was in contravention of the laws. Professor Fobih said Forestry Officers should be conversant with the all the projects going on under different organisations in the forestry sector and facilitate their success.

He said the institutional restructuring in the sector would go along with training and the provision of equipment and logistics. He asked the officers to live above reproach to curb frequent protestations about their complicity in illegal operations in the forests.

The Minster also met staff of the Forest Protection and Resource Use Management (FORUM), a German government supported collaborative forest management project in the Volta Region.

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