The President of the National House of Chiefs (NHC), Ogyeahoho Yaw Gyebi II, has called for a review of the traditional councils’ share of the revenue from stool lands.
He said in recent times, chiefs had also been sponsoring the education of their people and undertaking developmental projects and as such, there was the need to increase their share of the revenue to empower them to perform those functions.
He said the people looked up to traditional authorities for development while the chunk of the revenue was given to the district assemblies.
Ogyeahoho Gyebi, who is the Omanhene of Sefwi Anhwiaso, made the call at the opening of the 25th anniversary celebration of the Office of the Administrator of the Stool Lands (OASL) in Kumasi.
The event was dubbed: “OASL@25 — Assessing the past, redefining the future of customary land administration”.
Ogyeahoho Gyebi also called on the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to review the fees for the use of stool lands to enable the administration to raise enough revenue to support the various traditional areas.
He said the Ashanti Region, for example, raised GH¢51,731,124.35 across five years (2016 to 2021), and that the amount was woefully inadequate, particularly “when 99 per cent of all the lands in Ashanti Region are stool lands.”
Distribution of revenue
Per Section Seven of the Stool Land Administration Act 481 (1994), “10 per cent of the revenue accruing from stool lands shall be paid to the Office to cover administrative expenses, and the remaining revenue shall be disbursed in the following proportions by the Administrator: (a) 25 per cent to the stool through the traditional authority for the maintenance of the stool in keeping with its status; (b) 20 per cent to the traditional authority; and (c) 55 per cent to the District
Assembly within the area of authority in which the stool lands are situated”.
In spite of the numerous successes chalked up by the office over the last 25 years, the sector minister, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, said there were some challenges facing the office that needed to be addressed.
He expressed worry that in order to avoid the requirement of the law, “stool lands are purportedly being converted into family lands,” although he emphasised that the status of a land as stool or family land “is a matter of law and custom”.
Per the act, the OASL has no jurisdiction over family or clans and can only take revenue from the use of stool or skin lands.
Mr Jinapor, thus, called for the expansion of the mandate of the OASL to include the collection and disbursement of revenues accruing from family or clan lands.
He explained that the new Land Act (2020), Act 1036 enjoined the OASL to collaborate with the Lands Commission to establish and strengthen a Customary Land Secretariat (CLS) for all stools, skins, clans and families that owned lands.
“It will, therefore, not be far-fetched for the office to work with the CLS in the collection and disbursement of revenue accruing from clan or family lands,” he said, adding that the ministry would continue to work with all stakeholders for a proper administration of stool lands.
“Already we are dealing with illegal mining, which in some parts of the country, have destroyed stool lands and negatively impacted on stool land revenue,” he said, and craved the indulgence of the chiefs to continue to work with the government to fight the activity.
The Administrator of the OASL, Maame Ama Edumadze-Acquah, cited some of the achievements of the office in the last 25 years.
She said from one office room in Accra, the Office now has presence in 104 districts in eight out of the 16 regions across the country and has 10 other satellite offices in the management and collection of revenues for stool land administration.
In revenue mobilisation, she said from the over GH¢8.377 million collected in 2006, the office managed to collect almost GH¢100 million in revenue in 2020.