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General News Wed, 17 May 2006

Traditional and public land ownership partnership

Dormaa (B/A) May 17, GNA - Professor Dominic Fobih, Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines has reiterated government's commitment to strengthening the capacity of customary land secretariats to foster partnership between traditional land ownership and public land system so as to create fairness and accountability, transparency and general efficiency in land administration in the country.

He said the government would sufficiently resource the customary land secretariats as the surest means to addressing the myriad of challenges confronting the land sector.


This was contained in an address read for him by Mr. Andrews Adjei Yeboah, Deputy Minister, at the inauguration of a customary land secretariat for Dormaa Traditional Council at Dormaa Ahenkro in Brong Ahafo.


The secretariat is the first to be inaugurated in the region and the seventh in the country as part of pilot areas earmarked for the Land Administration Project.


Professor Fobih disclosed that the target was to establish and strengthen 50 secretariats during the first phase of the project. He expressed regret that there were as many as 73,000 land related cases pending before the courts across the nation, while other problems, including poor-record keeping, indeterminate boundaries and multiple sale of lands had clouded the land sector.


The Minister noted that the problems did not only divert enormous revenue for development projects but also increased transaction cost for doing business and sometimes scared away investors. Professor Fobih said the government also acknowledged the fact that much land in Ghana was held customarily and no intervention could therefore be successful without the understanding, direct participation and maximum support from traditional authorities.

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Professor Fobih said Dormaa's qualification was contingent on the relative stability, peaceful co-existence of different ethnic groups in the traditional area and the potential revenue likely to be generated from its vast land.


"As pioneers in Brong-Ahafo region, you are expected to set the standards for the rest of the country with similar systems as yours to replicate," he urged chief in the area.


The Minister expressed optimism that the facility would promote efficient record keeping on Dormaa lands, conflict resolution, proper demarcation procedures and a mechanism to cater for the vulnerable and landless in society.


Mr. Adjei Yeboah in personal remarks advised the youth to support programmes and processes of land administration of the traditional council instead of taking the law into their hands and contesting decisions taken by the traditional authorities.


Mr. Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister-designate, noted that land had become a major source of dispute among different parties in the world, hence the need to streamline land administration to offset any potential land related conflicts to provide the platform for investment and national development. He commended the relative peace prevailing in the 49 traditional areas in the region and urged prospective land developers to take advantage of the secretariat and go through laid down procedures before commencing projects.

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Osagyefo Oseadeyo Agyemang Badu II, President of Dormaa Traditional Council, deplored the high cost of land in the country, saying, "land in some parts is even sold for dollars".


The Omanhene noted that the existing high cost of land was scaring away investors as well as ordinary Ghanaians who wanted to own plots for development.


He called for a downward review of the cost of land to avail Ghanaians the chance to own land and houses and directed members of the traditional council that the practice of selling land, which for sometime now had remained their prerogative must give way to directives from the customary land secretariat.


Oseadeyo Agyeman Badu tasked the area's land administration committee, under chairmanship of Barima Ansu Agyei, chief of Wamfie and Krontihene of Dormaa Traditional Council, to ensure that land given out to individuals and groups in the traditional area were utilized for the overall development of the area.


He pledged the council's support and readiness to co-operate with the secretariat in its bid to revamp land administration in the traditional area.

Source: GNA