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Regulatory framework on land administration in the offing

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural resources, Ms Serwaa Asamoah, speaking at the meeting

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is facilitating the development of a legal and regulatory framework to govern land administration and land use in Ghana.

 

The framework, which is under phase two of the Land Administration Project (LAP-2), is expected to ensure a sustainable land administration, and management and effective land tenure.

Already, a draft land bill has been prepared by a special committee made up of experts and chaired by a retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Stephen Allen Brobbey.

The draft bill, according to the ministry, is to revise and consolidate all the scattered laws on land with the view to harmonising them.

Stakeholders 

To solicit inputs from the public, the ministry held a two-day stakeholder consultation workshop in Accra on the draft land bill for the southern zone of the country. 

Stakeholders at the meeting included experts in land administration, traditional leaders, civil society participants and representatives of development partners.

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Nii Osah Mills, in a speech read on his behalf said Ghana needed a robust, consolidated and up-to-date legal framework that would take into account modern methods of surveying and land administration.

Provisions 

The land bill, Mr Mills said, introduced provisions that sought to ensure that both stool or skin and clan or family lands were brought under the same administration regimes.

“The rationale is to first of all bring equity in the administration of all types of customary lands and to implement the fiduciary principle laid out in the 1992 Constitution,” he said.

Additionally, he said it made provisions for gender empowerment by requiring that property valuation during marriage should be in the name of both spouses.

The bill further provides that where property is in the name of only one spouse it shall be deemed that the spouse is holding it in trust for both partners.

The rights of spouses are further enhanced through the prohibition of the transfer of land or interest in land acquired during marriage without the written consent of the other spouse.

Also, the minister disclosed that the draft provided that the Land Registrar should not register any disposition in lands where the interest was in more than 10 acres unless the Lands Commission in accordance with the law granted its consent having satisfied itself that certain critical steps had been satisfied.

It also introduces penalties for both public officials and citizens as deterrent to wrongdoing in the land sector.

Indiscipline 

During the two days, the participants would seek to ensure how the law could effectively respond to disputes over land, deal with the menace of land guards, stop the haphazard developments in urban and peri-urban areas and also how Ghana could improve the process of land registration.

Chairing the opening of the workshop, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Prof. Bruce K. Baneong-Yakubo, confirmed that there was extreme indiscipline in the sector.

He was optimistic that a strong legal framework for land administration would ensure security of land tenure in Ghana and facilitate the nation’s development.