Editorial: Land administration reforms must be thorough

Thu, 5 Nov 2020 Source: Business 24

Ghana’s land administration system has undergone several reforms over the years. And rightly so because the land tenure system has been the cause several disputes.

Indeed, the land market in Ghana is characterised by a number of issues relating to land title insecurity, encroachment of public lands, multiple sale of residential lands, high property registration cost, and general land market indiscipline.

One of the challenges people face in registering property is the inability of the Lands Commission to provide information on the true owners of the land.

In some cases, one would have negotiated and purchased materials to begin construction of a project, and later have to contest ownership of the land in court because the information on ownership received earlier has changed. This affects predictability of project completion and projection of cashflow.

Also worrying is the lack of information as far as the process of registering property in Ghana. Most landowners do not know the process of registering property. These challenges in the land market are associated with factors that delay unlocking the productive capacity of land.

At a forum organised recently by policy think tank IMANI Ghana, panelists agreed that a robust land administration system provides opportunities to unlock the productive capacity of land.

In countries where secured land title is guaranteed, land serves as collateral for small and medium businesses to access finance, sell property and support broader community development goals.

While it is a fact that reforms such as the Land Administration Project have yielded some fruits, there is no doubt that we need to consolidate these gains and work even harder.

Last week, the Parliamentary commitee on Lands and Forestry has advised the Lands Commission to work towards its 2022 target of ensuring that persons seeking to register their lands are able to complete the process within 30 days.

The Committee in its report on the budget performance of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for last year, expressed dissatisfaction with the progress made to expedite automation of land administration services.

This paper believes that the committee’s dissatisfaction is understandable as the country cannot afford any more delays to completing these key reforms.

Source: Business 24