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16.06.2005 General News

Government would not tolerate delays in land registration - Prof. Fobih


Tamale, June 16, GNA - Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines on Wednesday, said the government would not tolerate acts that would frustrate land registration to make the process unattractive.

Inaugurating a Deed Registry in Tamale to cater for the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, he called on officials of the Land Commission and the other bodies involved in the process to abide by the ethics of their profession. The Minister urged them to help nurture and sustain the Deed Registries in the country to facilitate the registration of land related instruments. He said the Tamale Registry would save landowners and developers in the three regions the problem of commuting to Accra for the purpose.

The facility, the fourth after Sekondi, Koforidua and Sunyani, this year, would be operational as from July 1. Officials from the Ministry, Land Administrators from the three regions, chiefs and traditional leaders, as well as Members of the Lands Commission, attended the inauguration.

Prof. Fobih said, "The rules and regulations of the service and the law of the land will descend heavily on all those found to be undermining the registration process". He directed that fees and charges by the Registry must be displayed at vantage points for the attention of the public and warned that the Ministry would not hesitate to sanction any officer or anyone found to have cheated any member of the public.

A 15-year programme under the Ministry's Land Administration Project to address constraints in the land sector was being implemented to develop an efficient, decentralized and cost-effective land administration system capable of enhancing land tenure security, the Minister said.

Prof. Fobih said many investors were not happy with the country's current land management system, which included accessibility, security of tenure, conflicts, long and cumbersome registration procedures. "This situation cannot be allowed to continue as it has serious consequences for the nation," he said.

The Minister advised traditional rulers, land owners, investors and the public to register their lands to derive the benefits, citing increased security of tenure for investment in labour and capital and also as collateral to secure credit for investment. He announced that to further enhance speedy land registration, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had decentralized the issuance of valid Tax Clearance Certificate to enhance land registration.

Prof. Fobih advised that Alternative Dispute Resolution should be used to settle litigation to avoid the high cost associated with the normal judicial system. The Minister presented the tools of office, which included a Bible, Koran and Crucifix to Mr William Asigbetse, the Registrar and urged him to ensure fairness and honesty.

The Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Alhaji Hamidu Ibrahim Baryeh, noted that over-centralisation of land administration led to unnecessary delays, frustrations, litigation, speculation and even civil strife. Alhaji Baryeh called on the Regional Lands Commission and the Registry to do everything possible to ensure that the objective of the Regional Registry was achieved.

The Northern Regional Minister, Alhaji Abubakar Saddique Boniface in a speech read on his behalf said the government's policy to reform land management would reduce poverty and promote social stability, as well as improve security of land tenure in the country. Mr. Seidu Seini, Chairman of the Northern Regional Lands Commission, described land as the second "umbilical cord" of human beings but said that unfortunately, "land is giving problems to man's very existence".