President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has assured that the government would expedite efforts on the land administration digitalization process to ensure Lands Commission goes fully digital.
President Akufo-Addo said it was unacceptable that in this age of technology, the Lands Commission still operated and processed land documents manually.
He said the country could not deliver an efficient land administration when operations of land administration and land documentation were processed manually.
Addressing participants at the maiden National Land Conference in Accra on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo told various stakeholders in land administration at the event that “as you go into the technical discussions, I hope that this will be key on your agenda.”
He said land remained the most important factor for development and urged all to work to build an effective and efficient land administration to propel national development.
The President said Ghana’s quest to transform its economy to bring prosperity to the people could not be achieved if the country fails to anchor an effective land administration system.
The effective management and proper administration of the land, the President indicated, required the collaboration of various actors in land administration.
He, thus, advocated for a stronger partnership between the government, the Judiciary, traditional authorities, civil society organizations and the private sector to establish a workable relationship to govern land tenure and land use in the country.
The significance of land to the country’s socio-economic development, to the President, was self-evident as human activities revolved around the land which was the fulcrum for the success of the economy.
The Ghana Statistical Service estimated that about 90 per cent of the Ghanaians derive their livelihoods directly and indirectly from land use.
A rapidly growing population, coupled with competing use of land continue to put pressure on the country’s land resources.
Aside from the usage of land, it also has some cultural significance as traditional political systems and political economy revolves around land rotation and tenure.
Successive governments over the years had, according to President Akufo-Addo, sought numerous initiatives to improve the country’s land administration regimes.
The most significant intervention has been the Land Administration Project (LAP)—phases I and II—which sort to lay the foundation and consolidate urban and rural land administration and management systems for efficiency and transparency in land service delivery.
These interventions had yielded some results—the enactment of the Lands Commission’s Act 2008 (Act 767), the establishment of five client service units at the Lands Commission, the establishment of customary land’s secretariats, reforms in the Judiciary through the establishment of specialised land courts amongst others.
The President said despite these interventions, the country’s land administration was still confronted with several challenges and that there was a need to conduct an objective analysis of the land tenure system to meet the growing demand for land use.
Some of the problems are the double sale of land, the wrong sale of land by quark land owners, and multiple claims to land by different stools, skins, clans and families among others.
The President said it was because of these challenges that the government prioritized the passage of the Land Bill which had been in the draft stage for over 20 years.
Fortunately, President Akufo-Addo said, the Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) provided a strong foundation for the establishment of a workable and efficient land administration.
The Act, he indicated, has a far-reaching vision and if implemented, “would go a long way to build an effective land administration for accelerated national development.
The Land Act 2020, revises, harmonizes and consolidates laws on land to ensure sustainable land administration and management as well as an effective and efficient land tenure system.
Key among the Act is the establishment of customary land secretariats to see to the management of stool, skin, clan and family lands, and restrictions on large disposal of family and clan land without the concurrence of the regional lands commission.
But Laws in themselves, President Akufo-Addo indicated, do not resolve problems. “It is their very application and effective implementation that yields the requisite results.”
The dynamic of land tenure and land ownership, population growth and land rights evolution and the competition between different land uses demands that the country takes bold actions to ensure land resources are well managed with optimal returns.
Has commended the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource and the Lands Commission for leveraging land policy and legislation for socio-economic development.