Regional News of Wed, 11 Feb 20040

Land officer explains land article

Sunyani (B/A) Feb 11, GNA - Mr. Sandy Anthony Mensah, Brong-Ahafo Regional Lands Officer has drawn the attention of Parliament of the inequity regarding Article 267 (5) of the 1992 Constitution barring the creation of freehold interests in any stool land.

Whilst Article 267 (6) provides the formula for the distribution of revenue accruing from stool lands, the definition of stool lands failed to include family lands, he said at a forum organized by the Regional Lands Commission for officers and other ranks of 3 Batallion in Sunyani. He said the silence over family lands in the definition of stool lands in the article was of great concern, emphasizing, "Just as the chiefs are in a fiduciary capacity for their subjects, the family heads also hold their family lands for the entire family".

Mr. Mensah noted that when it came to developing land, there was no distinction between the levels of infrastructure services required for either of these land-holding categories.

The District Assemblies who benefit from 55 percent of stool land revenue provide these services to all areas, including family lands, he noted, and queried: "Why should the revenue accruing from lands be left for the total enjoyment and benefit of the families while stool land revenue is heavily taxed".

"This inequity should be examined and addressed by our lawmakers", he said.

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Mr. Mensah announced that the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Forestry and the World Bank and other development partners had designed land administration project aimed at addressing land issues in the country.

Under the project the Lands Commission, Survey Department, Land Valuation Board, Town and Country Planning and other public sector land agencies would be re-engineered to provide a one-stop shop service, which is customer-oriented.

He said besides, customary land administration would also be strengthened and announced that already customary land secretariats had been established at Gbawe in Accra and Wasa Akropong in the Western Region.

There would also be demarcation and registration of all land boundaries, while human resource development issues in the land sector agencies would also be addressed.

Source: GNA

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