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Veep calls for reforms in land registration processes

Author: Victor Kwawukume
Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia (3rd right) making enquiries at one of the offices of the Lands Commission during his visit
Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia (3rd right) making enquiries at one of the offices of the Lands Commission during his visit

The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has promised sweeping reforms and changes to the processes of land registration as part of moves to modernise and make land acquisition and registration friendlier.

According to him, a good number of Ghanaians have been living with the recurrence of frustrating situations in the purchase and registration of land for far too long.

Dr Bawumia said this when he addressed the press on the premises of the Land Title Registration Unit of the Lands Commission at Cantonments yesterday.

That was after he had paid a surprise visit to the commission to familiarise himself with processes there and to ascertain at first-hand the workings of its systems and associated challenges.

The Vice President was received and taken round the various units of the Lands Commission by Mrs Yaa Agyeman Boadi, a senior official of the Commission.

Challenges


In view of the challenges of the commission, he said, the government would resource all land agencies with personnel and logistics to operate effectively and render efficient services to the public.

He said there was the need to streamline the valuation of property, digitisation of property, searching of land documents and consolidation of land records.

Vice-President Bawumia announced that as part of efforts by the government to bring about the needed change, there would be a total digital integration of the land acquisition process to be preceded soon by a land conference aimed at bringing on board all stakeholders in the land sector.

The said conference, he said, would be held on February 28, 2018 to reach a consensus on the way forward for the land sector of the country.

The forum, he explained, would take important decisions in areas such as the valuation of property, digitisation of property, search processes, and consolidation of records in all land agencies.

He stressed that "we have been living with this problem for years but we are not changing it. It is time for us to change the system.

Explaining further, he said in many countries, land acquisition was key to national development but in the case of Ghana, the prevailing situation had failed to develop the mortgage market.

Tackling the challenge

Some of the challenges identified during the visit was the lack of space to store records and the non-digital form in which they are kept, which makes it difficult to locate files.

The Vice President noted that President Akufo-Addo’s vision of moving Ghana beyond aid would be greatly hindered if the land acquisition and registration challenges were not handled with the required promptitude.
"Ghana will not be able to move beyond aid if we do not tackle the land problem.

There is so much land for which no one can extract equity out of. At least 70 per cent of lands in Accra do not have title and that is the reality," he stressed.

To address the many legal bottlenecks that have been associated with the situation, Dr Bawumia said that consultations would be held with the Chief Justice on conflicting judgements concerning certain lands in the country and the way forward with a view to getting those conflicts resolved.

He also promised to ensure the timely completion of work on an ongoing new structure to house the commission to solve the pressing need for space.

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