General News Thu, 25 Sep 2008

Institute of Surveyors holds annual seminar

Accra, Sept. 25, GNA - Developmental projects like the Bui dam and the recent oil find can never be a curse but a blessing to Ghana, if stakeholders use principled approach to address concerns of the local communities. The government should therefore take seriously related issues such as land management and environmental concerns associated with such critical projects to effectively assuage public dissatisfaction with investors and institutional actors. Awulae Annor Adjaye III, Paramount Chief of the Western Nzema State, Benyin made these remarks at a two-day annual seminar of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors (Gh.I.S) at Greenhill near Legon, Accra. This year's seminar was under the theme: "The Bui Dam and Oil Discovery in Ghana; Opportunities and Challenges - the Role of the Estate Surveyor".

Awulae Adjaye observed that with the deepening of democracy and the fact that Ghanaians were becoming more assertive, those whose livelihoods were threatened by such projects would not allow their rights to be curtailed without commensurate mitigation measures. "We're all aware that defiance strategies that lead to disruption of project execution with its attendant mayhem are not the best alternative to dispute resolution, but the strategy seems to win acceptability and immediate attention by the powers that be in resolving long-standing disputes in our part of the world. This, to say the least, is most unfortunate," he said. He said though development partners had promulgated various measures to address socio-cultural and environmental concerns relative to involuntary settlement, their prescriptions looked more like "cut and paste" solutions that did not consider the peculiarities of cultural setting and beliefs that characterised long periods of rural settlements.


He said there were examples that such precautionary measures were not complied with, and infractions went unpunished by supervisory agencies, resulting in deepening dissatisfaction and suspicion regarding project goals and objectives, and the lack of trust of professionals such as estate and valuation surveyors. Awulae Adjaye noted that while some surveyors displayed character and integrity, some had become shady in their dealings, especially with land issues for large development projects in rural areas, adding, these non-professionals charged land owners prohibitive fees, which they subsequently convert into lands.

He said the adherence to professional standards and code of ethics needed rigorous enforcement to salvage the sinking image of surveyors and land administrators, and called on stool land owners to desist from multiple and indiscriminate sale of prime land to meet present needs. The chief suggested that new arrangements should be introduced in the land market to extol not only the institutionalization of land banks, but also to encourage land owners to engage credible professionals to value and use such property as equity in future projects for the benefit of posterity. He also suggested that in addition to putting in place commensurate measures to mitigate the environmental concerns of communities, scholarship schemes should be instituted to train human capital for such projects in the catchments by government and development partners. Mr James Dadson, Chairman of the Estate and Valuation Division of the Gh.I.S called on government to assist the Institute with the needed resources to build its capacity. 25 Sept. 08

Source: GNA