CDD-Ghana organises forum on land development

Experts on Land Administration on Thursday met at a forum to discuss the issue of enhancing good governance and development of judicial decisions on land.

They said the uncertainties generated by some court judgments in land litigations often suggested rational land administration for enhanced socio-economic development, political, cultural as well as social harmony would remain a mirage unless the key issues identified were addressed and practical solutions found to them.

Mr Sulemana Mahama, Chief Lands Officer of the Lands Commission, in a presentation on the findings at a forum organised by the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in Accra, stressed that the manner and efficiency with which land was held and administered would determine the extent of economic development, social, cultural and political harmony in the country.

He noted that the Ghana’s socio-economic development, political and social harmony, depended to a large extent on land which contributed about 73 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but about 80 per cent of lands was held in customary tenure, with agriculture accounting for more than 60 per cent of employment.

Mr Mahama said the numerous land disputes presented high levels of insecurity and uncertainty to investment, land development and in other cases led to depressed land values, which also affected government revenue.

He called for the creation of a multi-stakeholder platform to support the judiciary and land administration institutions in managing land related conflicts.

Mr Mahama pointed out that the country’s land administration system had numerous challenges and gaps such as overlapping, duplication and conflicting roles of institutions actors of the overabundance of statutory and customary laws and regulations.

He said the hazy nature of documentation of boundaries, ownership, rights, obligations and physical boundaries and in some cases where lands were even documented they were not physically demarcated on the ground.

Mr Mahama said though the judiciary was often called to help resolve the numerous resultant litigations, evidence in the records of the Lands Commission and other researches had shown that court judgments in some cases had accentuated rather than resolve conflicts in land disputes.

He said contrary to obtaining solutions, some land owners and occupants, who were not parties to particular court suits and yet were deprived of their rights to their lands due to court ruling, became aggrieved and this generated the wake of other disputes, while others resorted to the use of self-help measures to protect their lands.

Professor Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, noted that Ghana’s land management was straddled with several ownership hierarchies, which existed concurrently at the same time, leading to a duality of land ownership and management between the State and Customary authorities.

He called for initiating best measures to support the judiciary and land administration institutions in managing land related conflicts to bring about harmony and development.
Source: GNA

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