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23.03.2005 General News

Govt to compensate landowners or ...

By GNA

.....give back unused land Accra, March 23, GNA - Government is in the process of taking inventory of land it has acquired to compensate owners or give unused ones to their owners.

So far the Central and Greater Accra Regions are being checked and the project would soon be extended to the Northern and Ashanti Regions. Ms Theresa Tagoe, Deputy Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mining, said this on Wednesday at a day's workshop on Land and Forestry Policy for service providers and policy clients.

The workshop was on: "Natural Resource Policy: Where We Are, Where We Need To Be."

The objective was to reinforce the environmental relationship shared by land, forest and mining and to serve as an instrument to attract additional service providers.

Mrs Tagoe explained that the Government would compensate people, whose lands had been used by the Government and would give back land, which had been acquired but not used.

She noted that chieftaincy disputes in many areas were hindering the process, saying; "in some places, you have more than four chiefs all claiming ownership of the land. Who should the Government pay the money to in such instances?

Ms Tagoe said the Ministry was collaborating with appropriate Ministries to establish special land courts to deal with land issues and thereby hasten the process.

She also expressed the Ministry's intention to build a one-stop service centre for land issues to speed up the processes involved in land acquisition.

Mr Samuel Allotey, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, said people did not show any readiness for investments in their communities when it came to land use. He said people claimed compensation from organizations instead of putting pressure on them to develop their communities. Mr Allotey explained that a mining company for instance could build houses and bring development to a community instead of the community just accepting compensation from the company.

Many of the participants called for public education on land and forest policies. 23 March 05

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