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06.09.2004 General News

Govt NOT playing politics with state acquired lands

By GNA

Cape Coast, Sept 06, GNA- Prof Dominic Fobih, the Minister of Lands and Forestry, on Monday said the inventory of state acquired lands was not for political or tax purposes or to deprive stools, families or individuals of their lands.

He said it is rather an exercise being undertaken to enhance effective land management and administration.

Prof Fobih said this at a public forum on the ''inventory of state acquired lands/state occupied lands in the Central Region'', which is being undertaken as part of the first phase of the Ghana Land Administration Project (LAP).

The inventory is geared towards helping the government to address outstanding issues arising from compulsory acquisition and compensation and developing policies and standards for future compulsory acquisitions, compensation and land usage.

Some chiefs, individual landowners and representatives of families whose lands have been acquired by the state attended the forum. Some of the concerns raised by participants bordered on the parcels of land acquired for the establishment of the Kakum National Park, the University of Cape Coast, the Cape Coast Polytechnic and the Ankaful Prisons, Leprosarium and Mental Hospital.

Prof Fobih said 280 acquisition sites would be covered in the region, including all educational institutions.

Technical teams comprising officials from the Lands Commission, Land Valuation Board, the Survey and the Town and Country Planning departments will be undertaking the exercise.

Prof Fobih said the teams will be based at Dunkwa-on-Offin, Assin Fosu, Agona Swedru and Cape Coast and the exercise in the region will be completed by the middle of next month.

He appealed to the public to cooperate with members of the technical teams engaged in the exercise in order to ensure that good results are achieved.

During an open forum, the minister reacted to concerns raised by the chief of Jukwa, Nana Afrifa Yamoah, II, about the non-payment of compensation for land acquired for the establishment of the Kakum National Park.

Prof Fobih acknowledged that there was the need to pay a portion of the revenue accruing from the park as royalties to the chiefs whose lands were taken up and said discussions are going on.

On concerns raised by some participants about the sale of state acquired lands, the minister, said it was illegal to dispose of such lands, and cautioned traditional rulers and other land owners against the practice.

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