President Nana Akufo-Addo has charged the Lands Commission to help the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to eradicate land litigation in the country.
President Akufo-Addo was worried land litigation sometimes affects investment because when there is litigation over a piece of land acquired by an investor, it takes years or even decades to resolve.
“Our quest to transform our economy to bring about the much-needed development and prosperity cannot be achieved without effective land administration.
“Investors will be frightened away if they spend good money to acquire land as a major tool for production only to realise that what they acquired is litigation that spans years and sometimes decades,” the President noted.
He made the call when he swore in a 25-member Board of the Lands Commission at the Jubilee House.
“As you take office, one of the things you must pursue aggressively is the digitisation of the records of the Lands Commission. Most of the reforms needed to build an efficient land administration may be within our reach if we are about to move away from manual registration to digital registration.
“You must, therefore, work assiduously to ensure that the digitisation programme works. Our target is to ensure that the registration takes a maximum of one month and I dare say, the Ghanaian people will assess the success of your tenure by how far this objective is attained,” he urged.
The President noted that the best way to solve lands litigation is for the Lands Commission to digitise lands registration processes to avoid the situation where one land is registered with two or more persons.
“All human activities revolve around lands and, thus, access to land is one of the most important factors in the development of every nation. Regrettably, despite the various interventions by successive governments, most of the challenges in our land administration still persist, including dishonesty, poor record-keeping at the Commission, encroachment of public lands and the forgery registration of lands.
“Why should the same parcel of land be registered in the names of different people when the same Lands Commission is responsible for registration? Why should documents or files submitted to the Lands Commission mysteriously disappear when the Lands Commission ought to be the chief custodian of such important documents?
“Why should it take years to register just a plot of land?” President Akufo-Addo quizzed, adding that the “government’s quest to transform the economy to bring about the much-needed development and prosperity cannot be achieved without effective land administration.”
He stated another disturbing issue is conflicting judicial decisions on the same parcels of land.
He has, therefore, tasked the Commission to ensure that eventually, a maximum of one month is used to register a land when the necessary measures are put in place.
He also cautioned the Lands Commission never to allocate any state land unless the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources does so with his (the President’s) consent.
The Board Chairman of the Lands Commission, Alex Nii Kweite Quayenor, while thanking President Akufo-Addo for their appointment, assured the President of reliable services with integrity.
Mr Quayenor assured the President that he and his colleagues will do all within their power to improve land administration in the country.
“The word that will guide the Lands Commission Board during its term is reform. The reform requires changes at various levels of the operations of the Commission.
“Members of the Board of the Commission sworn into office this evening have the knowledge and expertise required to carry out the planned reforms and are committed to doing so satisfactorily,” the Board Chairman said.
The board has Alex Nii Kweite Quaynor, a nominee of the President as its Chairman. The members of the Board are James Ebenezer Dadson, the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission; Daasebre Osei Bonsu II-National House of Chiefs; Anthony Forson, Jnr -President of the Ghana Bar Association; Jonathan Allotey Abbosey-Ghana Institution of Surveyors and Mrs Ama Kudom Agyeman-Bono East Region.
Others are Dr Prosper Basommi Laari-North East Region; Alhaji Mohammed Abdul-Haq-Upper West Region; Ms. Yvonne Adoley Sowah-Greater Accra Region; Kofi Dankwa Osei-Eastern Region; Mama Dzidoasi I-Volta Region; Nana Obonbo Sewura Lupuwura II-Oti Region and Kwame Kwaasi Danso-Central Region.
The rest are Dr Isaac Obirim Kofi Sagoe-Western Region; Samuel Kofi Abiaw-Western North Region; Nana Nsuase Poku-Agyemang III-Ashanti Region; Nicholas Lenin Anane-Agyei-Ahafo Region; Isaac Kwadwo Amankwah-Bono Region; Dubik Yakubu Mahama- Northern Region.
Dr Alhaji Adams Sulemana,-Savannah Region; Jonathan Anaboro Angme-Upper East Region; Dr Kwadwo Yeboah-Land Use & Spatial Planning Authority; Rev. Kwadwo Nkrumah-National Association of Farmers & Fishermen; Henry Kwabena Kokofu-Environmental Protection Agency, and Benito Owusu-Bio, MP.