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28.03.2006 General News

Stable political climate should go with easy land acquisition

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Akosombo, March 28, GNA - Prof Dominic Fobih, the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, has said the drive for investors to take advantage of the country's stable political and economic climate would not be complete if land was either unavailable due to encumbrances or its acquisition was plagued with long and cumbersome registration processes.

He said it was therefore to make land ownership easy and transparent to encourage investors that an inter-ministerial committee was formed to scout for land banks and the institution of the Land Administration Programme (LAP).

Prof Fobih was opening a four-day Annual Conference of the Lands Commission at Akosombo on Monday. The conference with the theme: "Quality land service delivery: a tool for national development" was attended by the chairmen of the Regional Lands Commission and its senior staff.

The Minister said government's approval of the amalgamation of all land sector agencies as a One-Stop service centre under the Land Administration Programme (LAP) called for collaboration of all the stakeholders with a view to eliminating duplicating roles and procedures.

He noted with concern that over the years the Lands Commission, like most government agencies, had not been able to deliver efficient and effective service due mainly to bureaucratic procedures and negative attitudes of some staff requiring urgent moves to improve the Commission's image.

He said his ministry had set the pace by constituting a team to identify the duplicating roles of the land agencies. Prof Fobih called for the manual work practices to be replaced by digital environment in order to make processes easier, faster and safer, adding "we need to improve the human resource capacity by recruiting requisite staff to promote public confidence in the institutions.'' He called on the Lands Commission to help generate more revenue to government and help other landowners to do the same for themselves. The Minister asked the Commission to establish well-equipped client service units to be responsive to enquiries by the public even before the one-stop centres fully take effect under the LAP.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Yaw Barimah, said whilst those alive now had the right to use the land to meet their current developmental needs, "we do also have a duty to so manage our use of the land in a manner that we do not compromise the rights of future generations of their legitimate expectations to inherit their interest." He, therefore, stressed the need for prudent management practice to ensure that land was sustained for the various interests, current and future, that take place on it.

Mr Barimah welcomed the land reform measures being pursued by government towards the achievement of sustainable land use under the LAP, noting that rapid population growth, technological advancement and the complicated tenure arrangements and fixed nature of land had all impinged on the land market.

He said a developing country with over 60 per cent of the population earning their living directly from land-based economic activities, the need for a well-structured land sector capable of eliminating problems of multiple sales, outdated records information and unplanned developments became more urgent.

The National Chairman of the Lands Commission , Mr Justice Isaac Aboagye, noted many problems affecting land administration in the country leading to numerous protracted land disputes and litigations and said it was the responsibility of both the members and staff of the Commission He appealed to stakeholders in land administration including the judiciary, traditional rulers and heads of landowners to continuously consult, collaborate and support the Commission towards the development of an efficient and effective land administration.

The Eastern Regional Lands Commission chairman, Dr Ebenezer Moses Debrah, expressed regret that even though the country had land and natural resources in abundance it had not been able to put the resources to the highest and best use in order to increase the pace of socio-economic development. 28 March 06

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