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10.03.2006 Business & Finance

Committee to fast track index of land bank

By GNA

Accra, March 10, GNA - Professor Dominic Kwaku Fobih, Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, on Friday said lands were not readily available to investors because they were not properly documented. "Every district has potential parcels of land for economic ventures but they are not often well documented," he said at the inauguration of a 10-member technical committee to identify and document potential lands available for investment in agriculture, estate development, industrial and other ventures.

He said the process of identification and documentation of such lands formed an essential component of the Land Administration programme.

The committee is made up of representatives from the Lands Commission, Land Valuation Board, Town and Country Planning and the Ministries of lands, Forestry and Mines, Food and Agriculture and Local Government and Rural Development.

It is tasked to help identify available parcels of land, clearly determine and define ownership and provide information about their optimal economic use.

Prof. Fobih said the Land Administration Programme had been able to identify and document parcels of land in Kumasi and Accra for investment while inventories of Government acquired lands were being compiled throughout the country.

He explained that under the scheme, individual landowners would have the opportunity to directly negotiate their terms with investors on the use of their lands.

He, therefore, charged the committee to explain the rationale of the exercise to landowners so that it might not be misconstrued as a subtle means by Government to compulsorily acquire their lands. "Land owners should rather see it as Government's attempt at facilitating a process of negotiation between them and prospective investors," he said.

Mr Ernest K. Debrah, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said recent indications were that both local and foreign investors were keen to invest in the agriculture sector.

"Meanwhile, reports from prospective investors suggest that while it takes about 80 days to register one's business in Ghana, which is even disturbing, the process of acquisition and registration of land for the investor may take about a year.

"This definitely is a frustration and disincentive to prospective investors."

He also urged members of the committee to bring their expertise to bear on the assignment and work conscientiously to produce a comprehensive index of land to bolster the investment drive of the Government.

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