Kumasi, March 31, GNA - The formulation of a comprehensive Town and Country Planning Legislation would strengthen the capacity of the Department of Town and Country Planning (TCPD). This will enable the department to respond to the rapidly growing human settlement problems occasioned by the rapid expansion of government activity as part of the socio-economic transformation of the country.
Mr E.P. Karbo, Director of TCPD, said the decision to restructure the department was predicated on many critical factors that affected its overall performance.
Mr Karbo was speaking at a one-day workshop for personnel of the department drawn from Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central and Western regions in Kumasi on Wednesday.
His topic was "Overview of the Restructuring of Town and Country Planning Department and the Land Administration Programme (LAP)". Mr Karbo said the problems and challenges of the department included outmoded planning law, which was limited in scope and application, weak in manpower capacity, inadequate financial and logistic support and low recognition within the national administration matrix.
This, he said, had led to people asking whether there were planners at all in the country.
The director said alongside the restructuring of the department it was also participating in the land administration programme, pointing out that the overall objective of LAP was to develop a structure for the land administration system as a whole that would achieve transparent effective and efficient delivery of land administration services. Mr Karbo said the department was now moving away from the centralised land use planning to decentralised land use planning which will involve key players in land administration.
The situation as it stands now is that the TCPD officers plan in their offices and expect the landowners to come to them for discussion. The director said this had not worked and that was why the department was moving away from that situation, adding, "as a matter of fact the situation as it obtains now is that all stakeholders are working at cross purposes".
"While all the component part of land administration comprising the TCPD, Stool Lands and Land Valuation were all working towards a common purpose, they were rather working at cross purposes".
Mr Sampson Kwaku Boafo, Ashanti Regional Minister, noted that there was an inefficient use of existing land supply by parastatals, stools families and individuals.
In an address read on his behalf, he said the scenario in which rapid increasing demand for land resulting from escalating demand for shelter, food and services among others were not matched by adequate land delivery.
"We are therefore in a period where acquisition of land has become very complex due to the emergence of false landlords, land guards as well as unclear ownership of specific lands".
Mr K. Owusu-Akyaw, Ashanti Regional Director of TCPD, said LAP presented one sure way of correcting some mistakes of the past and challenges of the present in the country's land administration system. "LAP therefore requires the commitments of all staff and collaboration with all other stakeholders to the intended changes in terms of policy legislative and institutional framework that will usher us to achieve our vision of efficient land service delivery through team work".
Mrs Beatrice Borborbie, Ashanti Regional Stool Lands Officer and Regional Co-ordinator of LAP, expressed regret that all kinds of human settlements were springing up daily in the country without reference to the TCPD.
"The people are building along the main roads, land use plans are virtually synonymous to residential plans. The important uses such as green belt, recreation and water sheds and agriculture lands are daily submerged under concrete". 31 March 06