The president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has charged the newly constituted 25-member Lands Commission board to do everything possible to change the negative course of land administration in Ghana.
Addressing members of the board after swearing them into office at Jubilee House, President Akufo-Addo noted that the country’s land administration challenges have persisted for far too long and it is time to leverage on technology and all other means at our disposal to correct the wrongs.
According to Akufo-Addo, “the framers of the Constitution appreciated the importance of land to the socio-economic development of the country. All human activities revolve around land and thus access to land is one of the most important factors in the development of any nation”.
“Regrettably, in spite of the various intervention by successive governments, most of the challenges in our land administration still persist including dishonest sale of lands, poor record keeping at the commission, encroachment of public lands, and the fraudulent registration of lands,” Akufo-Addo said.
To buttress his point, Akufo-Addo asked: “Why should the same parcel of land be registered in the names of different people when the same lands commission is responsible for registration? Why should documents or files submitted to the Lands Commission mysteriously disappear when the Lands Commission ought to be the chief custodian of such important documents? Why should it take years to register just a plot of land?”
An efficient and effective land administration system, he said, will not give room for any of the rhetorical issues raised in the questions posed to occur.
“Our quest to transform our economy to bring about the much needed development and prosperity cannot be achieved without effective land administration. Investors will be frightened away if they spend good money to acquire land as a major tool for production only to realise that what they acquired is litigation that span years and sometimes decades,” Akufo-Addo noted.
He also urged the new board to prioritise the digitisation of the operations of the Lands Commission. He noted that digitisation is the fastest route the Commission can use to achieve the much needed reforms.
“As you take office, one of the things you must pursue aggressively is the digitization of the records of the Lands Commission. Most of the reforms needed to build an efficient land administration may be within our reach if we are about to move away from manual registration to digital registration. You must therefore work assiduously to ensure that the digitization programme works. Our target is to ensure that the registration takes a maximum of one month and I dare say, the Ghanaian people will assess the success of your tenure by how far this objective is attained,” the President stated.
In his response to the charge of the President, Alex Nii Kweite Quaynor, the board chair assured that they will do all within their power to improve land administration in the nation.
“The word that will guide the Lands Commission Board during its term is reform. The reform requires changes at various levels of the operations of the Commission. Members of the Board of the Commission sworn into office this evening have the knowledge and expertise required to carry out the planned reforms and are committed to doing so satisfactorily,” Quaynor said.
The Lands Commission
The Lands Commission was established by article 258 of the 1992 Constitution and the Lands Commission Act, 2008 (act 767) as a body corporate with perpetual succession, a common seal and may sue and be sued in its corporate name.
The current Lands Commission, as part of the public sector reform programs and the land administration project, has been substantially remodeled by Act 767 to increase its efficiency and effectiveness.
The divisions of the Lands Commission under the Act are the survey and mapping division; the land valuation division; the land registration division and the public and vested land.
Functions of the Commission
The Lands Commission on behalf of the government, manages public lands and any other lands vested in the President by the Constitution or by any other law and any lands vested in the Commission
The Commission also advises government, local authorities and traditional authorities on the policy framework for the development of particular areas of the country to ensure that the development of individual pieces of land is coordinated with the relevant development plan for the area concerned.
Other functions of the Commission are to formulate and submit to government recommendations on national policy with respect to land use suitability or capability, advise on, and assist in the execution of, a comprehensive programme for the registration of title to land throughout the country, establish standards for and regulate survey and mapping of the country, provide surveying and mapping services where necessary, license practitioners of cadastral survey, and provide land and land related valuation services among others.
Members of the Board
The twenty-five (25) member Board has Mr. Alex Nii Kweite Quaynor, a nominee of the President as its Chairman. The members of the Board are Mr. James Ebenezer Dadson, the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission; Daasebre Osei Bonsu II, National House of Chiefs; Mr. Anthony Forson, Jnr., President of the Ghana Bar Association; Mr. Jonathan Allotey Abbosey, Ghana Institution of Surveyors; Mrs. Ama Kudom Agyeman, Bono East Region; Dr Prosper Basommi Laari, North East Region; Alhaji Mohammed Abdul-Haq, Upper West Region; Ms. Yvonne Adoley Sowah, Greater Accra Region; Mr. Kofi Dankwa Osei, Eastern Region; Mama Dzidoasi I, Volta Region; Nana Obonbo Sewura Lupuwura II, Oti Region and Mr. Kwame Kwaasi Danso, Central Region.
The rest are Dr. Isaac Obirim Kofi Sagoe, Western Region; Mr. Samuel Kofi Abiaw, Western North Region; Nana Nsuase Poku-Agyemang III, Ashanti Region; Mr. Nicholas Lenin Anane-Agyei, Ahafo Region; Mr. Isaac Kwadwo Amankwah, Bono Region; Mr. Dubik Yakubu Mahama, Northern Region; Dr. Alhaji Adams Sulemana, Savannah Region; Mr. Jonathan Anaboro Angme, Upper East Region; Dr. Kwadwo Yeboah, Land Use & Spatial Planning Authority; Rev. Kwadwo Nkrumah, National Association of Farmers & Fishermen; Mr. Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Environmental Protection Agency, and Benito Owusu-Bio, MP, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.