Mr Seth Kwame Acheampong, the Eastern Regional Minister, on Wednesday said the passage of Ghana’s new Land Law 2020 (Act 1036) shows Government’s commitment to stabilize land administration and boost local and international investment.
It also seeks to ameliorate land sector problems such as the destruction of the environment through illegal mining or “galamsey” and wanton chain saw operations with its negative effect on water bodies.
The law also shows government’s resolve to deal with conflict between customary landowners and lessees of public land areas; conflicting land search reports and double registrations of land; encroachment on public lands and issues around rapid development of properties without regard to planning schemes.
Mr Acheampong said the Government has initiated several interventions and was keen on removing the numerous bottlenecks confronting Ghana’s land sector to help boost local and international investments.
The Minister who was speaking during the inauguration of the reconstituted 39-member of the Eastern Regional Lands Commission raised concerns about the challenges facing Ghana’s land administration.
Ghana’s new land Act aims to revise, harmonise and consolidate laws on land to ensure sustainable land administration and management as well as ensure effective and efficient land tenure.
The Act repeals 13 enactments and re-enacts same with modifications, according to land experts, who also say the law further contains a number of novel provisions.
“It is the desire of the Government to support the Lands Commission to deal with these bottlenecks to make land transactions easy,” Mr Acheampong said.
He added that government was investing in turning the Lands Commission into a true digital organization to speed up land services and enhance the accuracy of land certificates and records. “This will also ensure a high standard of land data security.”
He said efforts were also being made to ensuring that the turnaround time for land registration in Ghana was reduced to an acceptable time frame.
“The Government will free up surplus and underutilized lands, held by public departments for housing and commercial development to boost economic development and reduce the housing deficit,” he said.
He expressed optimism that the reconstituted commission would be the vehicle to drive policies of government in fulfillment of the manifesto pledge by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
He was hopeful the new commission would live up to the task and tackle several challenges confronting land sector management in Eastern Region, and pledged government support for the Commission to deliver on their mandate.
The Eastern Region has been identified as having great significance in the national setting and represent eight per cent of the total land area of Ghana, with unique investment potentials in education, agriculture, tourism, mining and real estate development.
Mr Kofi Dankwa Osei, Chairman of Eastern Region Lands Commission, mentioned that one of their duties, as enshrined in the 1992 constitution, was to advise government, local authorities and traditional authorities on policy framework for the development of particular areas.
This is to ensure the development of individual pieces of land was coordinated with the relevant development plan of the area concerned.
“The Regional Coordinating Council, therefore, expects a lot from us as far as land development control is concerned,” he said. “It’s our responsibility since we represent the various assemblies, to ensure the general public understands the requirements of the law and the innovations introduced by this Act [new Land Act 2020(Act 1036].”
“It means a lot of sensitization needs to be done to facilitate efficient implementation,” adding: “It’s also our duty to collaborate and cooperate with traditional authorities who are in most cases land owners, if we are to succeed as a commission.”
“Again, if we have to succeed as a Commission we will have to put the interest of the Government first and the Commission, for the betterment of mother Ghana,” he said.