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08.03.2006 General News

Speed up process of land reforms - Kufuor

By GNA

Accra, March 8, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday expressed worry over the slow pace of the land reform project and said by 2010 land policies and issues must have been harmonized in the country to ensure sustainable development.

He said the period after 2015 was too far off to streamline land issues and called for action to bring under one corporate entity all interested stakeholders identified within the Land Administration Project (LAP) for effective and efficient land administration. The President said this in a statement read for him by Mr Joseph Henry Mensah, Senior Minister, to open the Fifth Regional Conference of the International Federation of Surveyors of Africa.

The conference, which is the first to be held in West Africa, is being organized in conjunction with the Ghana Institute of Surveyors under the theme: "Promoting Land Administration and Good Governance." President Kufuor indicated that land administration and good governance had become the two most important prerequisites for promoting sustainable development yet the current situation in the country was not in direct consonance with overall national development.

He announced that private sector surveyors would be contracted to carry out inventory of all State acquired and occupied lands. Besides, he said, an equipment pool would be established for private sector surveyors to enable them to meet the challenges of the time.

President Kufuor said in harmonizing land issues, there was the need to look at the most appropriate prescription for developing nations taking into cognizance needs such as their socio-economic condition. He said the consequences of urbanization had brought problems to nations, such as poor sanitation and environmental degradation. "For the majority of our cities, there is the need to examine soberly what professionals, such as surveyors, can do to manage and control the menace."

He said when the speed of urbanization exceeded a certain threshold of about six per cent growth rate, it generated into negative tendencies, which required a concerted effort to fight. "Environmental degradation has become a global scandal, which we should all join together to eliminate."

Professor Dr. Holger Magel, President of the International Federation of Surveyors (FIG), said the international community in recent times had recognized the need to place much attention and commitment to the development of Africa.

He said he considered land administration and good governance as the two most important twins needed to bridge the social gap and specifically aid in the implementation of the MDGs and most international development programmes.

"The way forward is to think big and start small; avoid stop and go politics and reduce bureaucracy and remove bureaucratic obstacles. "Surveyors should play a manifold role as enablers for local people, NGOs and mediators between politicians and State institutions..."

Dr Benjamin E. K. Prah, President of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors, said the conference would enable participants to discuss ideas on modern application of technologies in the field of surveying that could help to enhance good land administration.

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