THE Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Collins Dauda, says government is not going to release any portion of the Achimota Forest for private development as is being speculated.
He said even though it was government’s determination to release unused parcels of land to their rightful owners, that did not mean that lands acquired by the government for specific projects and other development purposes would be released.
Alhaji Dauda stated this on Tuesday when he inaugurated the Greater Accra Regional Lands Commission in Accra.
The 16-member committee has Oko Nikoi Dzani as chairman and Alhaji Mohammed Habib Alhassan as secretary.
He said issues relating to land in the country were enormous and would require the support of traditional rulers to address.
“The land issue in this country will continue to be an obstacle to our national development if bottlenecks associated with land administration are not removed.
It is the collective responsibility of government, the Lands Commission and the entire Ghanaian population to deal with such issues”, he said.
The Minister said government was considering divesting some of the lands it acquired from the Osu Stool, those at Ridge and North Dzorwulu but the confusion within the traditional authority was making it difficult to do so.
He said the inauguration of the committee was necessitated by the general indiscipline such as multiple sale of land as well as the manipulation and fraud that had characterised land related issues in the Greater Accra Region.
He said the committee was also to address corruption and general loss of public confidence in the land administration system in the region, among others.
“Nowhere are these challenges more pronounced than in the Greater Accra Region, where land development is expanding fast,” he stated.
The reforms in the land sector are meant to address the issues and to establish a new framework for land administration, he stated, but pointed out that reforms in themselves do not necessarily bring change but rather the people involved in the implementation.
He therefore urged staff in the respective divisions to change their attitudes and work ethics to ensure the success of the reforms.
He said a new Land Commission Act, (Act 767) was passed by Parliament in 2008, making the Commission now responsible for all the issues involved in land administration including surveying, mapping, compensation, valuation, land registration as well as land management.
“The Survey Department, the Land Valuation Board, the Land Title Registry and the Lands Commission Secretariat have been brought under the new Lands Commission,” he stated.
That, he said, was going to be the new structure of the Commission which would provide a one-stop-shop for delivering land administration services, adding that people would no longer have to move from one agency to the other to access service.
“What the people of Ghana expect is a stress-free process for registering land which, therefore, means that the Commission will have to reduce the bureaucracy, inefficiencies, fraudulent practices and frustrations of the public,” Alhaji Dauda stated.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Armah Ashietey, urged members of the committee to join hands with other identifiable institutions to help address the numerous challenges confronting the land sector in the region.
Oko Nikoi Dzani, chairman of the commission, thanked the minister for the confidence reposed in them, stressing that they would do all that was required of them to ensure that the land problem in the region was addressed.