Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has noted that land administration reform will only be possible under long term programmes, which will require decades of sustained commitment.
He said the government of the National Democratic Congress is determined to pursue the objectives set out in the National Land Policy launched in 1999 with the long term goals of stimulating economic development, reducing poverty and promoting social stability.
Alhaji Fuseini made this known at the 2013 Annual Review Workshop for the Land Administration Project (LAP) at Sogakope in the Volta Region.
He said President John Dramani Mahama clearly indicated his commitment to reduce poverty in the country by announcing policy directions and strategies with an emphasis on priority areas like human resource development, quality education, modernised agriculture, good health, employment generation and infrastructure development.
Alhaji Fuseini said the government’s “Better Ghana Agenda“ responds to public outcry against the bureaucratic hurdles and long documentation periods that frustrate the efforts of developers and investors trying to get land documents registered.
He said the current activities being undertaken via the LAP include a review of the legal framework, the preparation of a national spatial development framework, the modernisation of survey and mapping techniques to aid the planning and registration processes and the establishment of customary land secretariats.
“It also includes the development of a computerised land information system, support to the Judiciary in the establishment of land courts and the support to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly in geo-referencing, street naming and house numbering in the Metropolis.”
Alhaji Fuseini, who is the Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, said automating the business processes of the Land Sector Agencies would also enable the Ministry to build a credible land information system that would be an invaluable asset to courts dealing with land disputes and conflicts.
He declared that government views the current situation as unacceptable but added that the Ghana Shared Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which underpins the Better Ghana Agenda, intends to reduce poverty and work with private partners for phenomenal growth in all sectors.
Alhaji Fuseini said the LAP has placed great emphasis on addressing the nagging issue of institutional bottlenecks and the lack of adequate decentralisation.
“It is ironic that in the midst of abundant land resources, our land tenure system and land use planning systems have become one of the banes of our socio-economic development.”
He said the problems associated with land, its use and ownership are even more critical as Ghana’s population continues to grow and put more pressure on the land.
The Minister added that by failing to address these problems, the present generation would be passing them on to future generations as they become increasingly insurmountable.
He assured the meeting’s participants of his ministry’s utmost support in dealing with the project’s implementation challenges, which include poor attitudes towards meeting project timelines and milestones, poor responses from implementing agencies, particularly the Land Commission, and LAP-1’s overall “moderately satisfactory” rating.
He said government would keep a keen eye on all activities of the project to ensure that its impact is fully felt by the ordinary people of Ghana even at the local and ward levels, adding, “the Ministry would not relent from its supervisory role under my watch.”