Land tenure set for transformation — Dr Bawumia

BY: Chris Nunoo
 Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia addressing guests at the symposium to launch the Dissemination of the Land Act 2020 in Accra.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia addressing guests at the symposium to launch the Dissemination of the Land Act 2020 in Accra.

The administration of land tenure in the country is set to undergo a major transformation following the coming into force of the new lands administration law.

The Lands Act, 2020 (Act 1036) has unified and subsequently repealed 13 Acts and many related legislations in order to ensure a one-stop legislation with all that is required to set up effective land administration in the country.

Opening a one-day national symposium on the Land Act in Accra yesterday, the Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, said Act 1036 would help deal with the bottlenecks within the land sector and facilitate the processes of land administration in the country.

He, therefore, urged all stakeholders to rally together to ensure that the provisions of the act were implemented effectively and resources channelled into it.

“I am confident that the team we have at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will form a formidable team working with the Lands Commission and I believe that we are going to slay this dragon and make sure that we fight the demons and principalities in the process of land administration.

National symposium

The Vice-President stated that laws in themselves did not resolve problems but the application of the laws and their effective implementation would result in the desired changes in the land sector.

While commending all stakeholders and personalities, particularly President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for their dedication to the cause, and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, for helping to organise the symposium, Dr Bawumia described the forum as a significant landmark in the history of land administration in the country since it would ensure sustainable land administration and management.

Background

The Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) became necessary because it was recognised that a robust, consolidated and up to date legal framework which took into consideration modern methods of land administration was required.

That was because a considerable number of laws on land predated the 1992 Constitution and thus resulted in inconsistencies between some provisions in the statutes and the 1992 Constitution.

The implication of this situation resulted in negative impacts on security of tenure and freeing of land for socio-economic development.

To improve the legislative framework for the administration of land in the country, an extensive stakeholder consultation process and a critical review of all legislations affecting land and key judgments were carried out.

Yesterday’s symposium, therefore, was a prelude to a nationwide sensitisation on the Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036) to help create awareness of the passing of the law and also to share knowledge to help shape the direction of its implementation.

In attendance were representative of the National House of Chiefs, the academia, members of the security agencies, traditional rulers, heads of the land sector agencies, Lands Commission and members of the Judiciary.

Challenges

Touching on some of the challenges confronting the sector, Dr Bawumia recounted his visit to the offices of the Lands Commission in 2018, and said: “I observed during the visit,  limitations in physical space, reliance on manual processes and paper-based records, all contributing to delays in processing application by clients.”

To address the critical challenges, therefore, and optimise the contribution of land to the socio-economic development, the country could only make the much-needed strides in development when technology became the driver for all sectors of the economy, he said.

Dr Bawumia said a liaison office unit, which was fervently working to assist the Lands Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in expediting the digitisation of its processes, had been established in his office as part of government’s digitisation agenda.

The Vice President also urged the Lands Commission, Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands and the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority to assist traditional authorities with technical and professional assistance to set up customary land secretariats in their jurisdictions.

Cooperation

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, for his part, called for the cooperation of the Judiciary and the Attorney General’s Department in enforcing the provisions of the law, saying the Ministry would cooperate with the relevant law enforcement agencies to ensure that culprits, regardless of their political or social standing, were brought to book.

Mr Jinapor, therefore, expressed his disappointment in instances where a person registered a land with the Lands Commission, only to learn later that the same Lands Commission had registered the same land in the name of another person.