02.03.2005 Regional News

Government to start pilot land inventory project in Brong Ahafo Region

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Sunyani (B/A) March 2, GNA - The Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines has selected Sunyani and Techiman municipalities and Wenchi District for a pilot inventory of all state acquired and occupied lands in the Brong Ahafo Region. Mr Sandy A. Mensah, Regional Lands Officer, who made this known on Tuesday said the Ministry's decision was part of the on-going land administration project.

The project is aimed at transforming the land tenure system, which has been associated with many problems such as disputes, multiple claims and sales, uncontrolled developments, bureaucratic and inefficient procedures in registration. The rest are improper records keeping, incoherent and conflicting laws as well as undefined and undetermined boundaries.

Mr Mensah was speaking at a day's sensitisation workshop on the project in Sunyani for about 50 participants. He said the national project, which was in its second year, has introduced similar pilot schemes in the Western, Ashanti and Greater Accra regions. He said past governments exploited the powers of eminent domain to acquired large tracts of land for its developmental agenda without any needs assessment.

Mr Mensah observed that in some cases the acquisition process failed to be concluded and landowners did not receive any compensation. He said the success of the project would offer the nation a more comprehensive land database including increased revenue for land owning groups, promote coordinated development, reduce encroachment, increase investor confidence in land administration and ensure security of tenure.

Dr Wordsworth Odame-Larbi, Technical Director, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mine, said the project would among other things cater for legislation and policy review. The project will also ensure the decentralisation of land administration at the district level for effective operation. Dr Odame-Larbi said the pilot phase of the project had established five customary secretariats each in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Ashanti, Western and Upper West Regions, while 10 additional secretariats are on the drawing board. He said the pilot inventory exercise had revealed that 1.3 trillion cedis is yet to be paid as compensation to deserving communities and traditional authorities.

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