Lands Commission removes bottlenecks in land administration

BY: Gertrude Ankah Nyavi and Patrick Dickson
Mr James E. K. Dadson Ag. Executive Secretary of Lands Commission addressing the institutional Excellence in Services Delivery through Modern Technology in Accra.
Mr James E. K. Dadson Ag. Executive Secretary of Lands Commission addressing the institutional Excellence in Services Delivery through Modern Technology in Accra.

 The Acting Executive Secretary of Lands Commission, James Kobina Dadson says measures had been put in place to address bottlenecks hampering effective land administration and management in the country.

He said part of the measures being taken include decentralisation, digitalisation, staff capacity building, infrastructure development, and adoption of best practices such as operationalization of site-plan and addressing challenges regarding compensations.

The Executive Secretary was speaking at a closing ceremony of a five-day management retreat in Accra on Friday, March 18, 2022.

The retreat organised by the Commission was themed: “Achieving Institutional excellence land services delivery through modern technology, human resource development, and private participation.”

Mr Dadson expects that the outcomes of these reforms would result in a total transformation of land service delivery by the Commission.

“Initially, we are talking about digitalisation as the government's main focus but we have gone beyond that. We are looking at total reform of our sector and digitalisation is key. One of the elements that we are embarking on, we have operated in a typically manual environment, and we are migrating our records from manual to digital.”

According to him, lands can now be registered in the same region that it was acquired, adding that by the next 12 months, the Commission’s district office in Tema will be fully operational.

Relationship with chiefs

Mr. Dadson said the chiefs and the traditional authorities manage over 80 per cent of all the lands in the country, but "we are only doing the registration on their behalf. And so occasionally we embark on public education campaigns, we go to the house of chiefs, now that we have a new land Act we started having sessions with the various Houses of Chiefs, engage other stakeholders including the media".

The Acting Executive Secretary added that every region has a Commission and the board has a representative of the Regional House of Chiefs who reports and send feedback to the chiefs.

He also refuted the allegation that the Commission is the cause of many land disputes in the country, explaining that “if Teshie in Accra registers a land and neighbouring community, La goes to court and secures judgement, the Commission cannot be blamed for it”.

On his part, the Deputy Executive Secretary of the Commission, Mr Jones Ofori Boadu also blamed part of the land problems on the country’s outdated map, which has been in use since 1974.

“It is part of the problem we are facing in managing our lands in Ghana. If you don’t have up to date map every record on land sits on the map. The map is the base on which every record sits. So if you don’t have up to date map, then it translates to the incurrent of some of the records.

“So that is why it is very critical for to have up-to-date maps because whatever we have on paper should relate to exactly whatever is on the ground. And if you don’t have that you always have over lapses and you will always have disputes when it comes to land administration.”

He also said part of the ongoing reforming is the engagement of Price Waterhouse Coopers to look at the financial capacity of the Lands Commission.

The Chairman of the Commission, Mr Alex Quaynor underscored the importance of the commission and advised its staff to exhibit professionalism thereby transforming the commission into a world-class institution.

“We have a monopoly in this area and we should do it well for Ghanaians to know that we are up to task… Only Lands Commission can perform its function. No one else can do it. Let's share ideas and experiences to make our work easy and work towards becoming one of the best public organisations”, he advised.