Parliament of Ghana

The pertinent issue of land administration in the country and the need to urgently resource the agency that is mandated to ensure effective land administration in the country, which was raised on the floor of Parliament yesterday by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, was backed by other Members of Parliament (MPs).

The Chairman of the Lands and Forestry Committee, Albert Abongo, who is the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Bongo in the Upper East region, called for 40 percent retention of levies, charges and fees received by the Lands Commission, which is mandated to administer lands in the country.

According to him, the proposal for the Lands Commission to retain 40 percent of its internally generated fund, as well as six percent of Stamp Duty revenue would ensure that the Commission is financially equipped to sustainably deliver effective land administration services in the country.

He said currently the Lands Commission was overwhelmed by increasing demand for its services.

?Land administration is expensive but its importance to national development is significantly unparalleled,? Hon Abongo said.

He added that the majority of Ghanaians were passionately creating wealth with landed properties and stressed the need to ensure effective land administration to resolve the numerous disputes over lands.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Ahafo Ano South East, Francis Manu-Adabor, in a contribution, said the survey and mapping division of the Commission is important in the effective administration of land in the country.

He recommended that the survey and mapping division should be provided with all the necessary equipment to ensure that personnel there do their work timely for land registration to be effectively carried out.

Ranking member of the committee and NPP MP for Atwima Nwabiagya North, Benito Owusu-Bio said Parliament passed the Lands Commission Act in 2008 and recommended in the act that portions of the revenue generated by the commission should be retained for its operations but this provision has not come into force since that time.

According to him, in some African countries like Uganda, it takes just three days to access information on land registration from the Lands Commission but in Ghana it takes a long time which has contributed to numerous land litigations in the country.

He noted that the operations of the Lands Commission should be decentralised while all information on land registration should be stored in central database for easy access.

?I don?t know whether there is this political will to streamline the operations of the Lands Commission because as far as I am concerned the German government has pledged to give a grant of 15 million Euros for the construction a modern office for the Lands Commission where every data will be digitally stored and that the government only have to provide a counterpart funding of 3 million Euros for the project to start but up till now the government has not been able to release that money for the new Lands Commission office to be constructed,? Hon Benito Owusu-Bio told DAILY GUIDE.

The NPP MP for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong said in other jurisdictions, lawyers are engaged in the sale and the purchase of land so that proper documents are provided to cover the land and the agreement between the buyer and the seller to prevent future problems over the land.

The NPP MP for Sekondi, Papa Owusu-Ankomah, for his part, noted that Ghana does not need any regulation for land administration in the country since there are already existing regulations.

?I will strongly suggest that people who work at the Lands Commission and deliberately ignore our land laws should be dealt with severely,? he said.

The NDC MPs for Banda, Adaklu, Ho West and Wa East, Ahmed Ibrahim, Kwame Agbodza, Emmanuel Bedzra and Ameen Salifu respectively supported the statement made by the chairman of the select committee on Lands and Forestry, saying the Lands Commission must be proactive in ensuring that there is effective land administration in the country.

 By Thomas Fosu Jnr

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