19.04.2005 General News

Project to solve land administration problems on course - Minister

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Accra, April 19, GNA - The process of integrating all land agencies under one umbrella to pave the way for a better management of land resources has progressed satisfactorily, Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, said on Tuesday.

A legal and institutional report on the creation of this one-stop-shop and re-engineering of the unified agency had been submitted for study and appropriate action to be taken, Prof. Fobih said at a seminar on the contribution of geo-information to modern and sustainable land use planning in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area. Participants at the seminar made contributions to the on-going Environmental Geology Project, which is aimed at identifying areas, which are geologically favourable for dumping sites, evaluated a seismic hazards document, areas of flooding and areas where raw materials for construction could be mined, among other things.

Ghana Geological Survey and the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources of Germany jointly organized the project with support from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

The Minister said the development of the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area needed to be carefully planned because land for development was becoming scarce.

"Transparent and accountable land use planning is required to make sure that the extension of Accra and Tema do not lead to economic, social and environmental conflict," he said.

He said understanding the causes and mechanisms of seismic activities needed scientific investigation, which took years of painstaking research, methodology, realistic approach and the strict adherence to building codes and enforcement to prevent human tragedy and financial loss.

Prof Fobih said it was expected that the project would be able to deal with the complex and difficult issues related to land administration.

Mr Peter Linder, German Ambassador, said the success of the project and the condition for its continuation would be measured by its impact. He said planning to use land for urban development was sustainable and all information collected should be made available to the relevant planning institutions.

The Ambassador noted that the vision of the project was to develop Accra into a major tourist; conference, trade and industry hub in West Africa and this could only be realised if the knowledge of geological and environmental conditions were fully taken into account.

Mr Fritz Haut, representative of the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources, said geosciences was a prerequisite for a good economy and called on stakeholders to exploit and tap into the resources of the Survey Department.

Mr Philip Oduro Amoako, Director-General of GSD, said the first phase of the programme was expected to end in February 2006 and prayed that the Government would place emphasis on the project and negotiate for the second phase.

He said the continuation of the project would help produce the required thematic maps, which were seriously needed for the development of Accra-Tema and the updating of geological maps with the state of the art technology, a vital component for investment promotion. Mr Amoako noted that activities of the Geological Survey Department were all geared towards preparing the grounds for good governance, making sure that the Government maximized the use of geo-information for proper land use planning and development.

"The geology of Accra is complex, and to modernize the capital city means putting a high premium on geo-information to select good grounds for specific development and construction," he said. 19 April 05

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