President Mahama charges reconstituted Lands Commission to be honest
The President, John Dramani Mahama has charged members of the reconstituted Lands Commission board to apply the principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity and humility in the discharge of their functions.
He further encouraged them to regard themselves as partners in development and to always make the national interest in the discharge of their duties paramount.
That, the President noted was the only way the reconstituted Lands Commission could develop a cordial working relationship with the management to redeem the image of the Commission.
In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini at the Flagstaff House, the President said there was a high level of mutual suspicion and lack of trust between customary land authorities and the Commission, especially concerning the management of public and vested land and therefore called on the Commission members to bring their expertise to bear in order to restore confidence in that regard.
The President also noted that the only way the Commission could earn the confidence and goodwill from the public to play its role of rendering quality land services in the country was to redeem its image by changing the old ways of doing things at the Commission. He described the current image of the Commission as one which was not very good and urged Commission members to help management to put in shape the image of the Commission.
Regarding outstanding claims by Traditional landowners for lands compulsorily acquired without payment of compensation, the president urged the Commission to make recommendations on ways of dealing with the issue, since the land owners were requesting either for the return of lands not developed for the intended purposes or appropriate compensation.
President Mahama also tasked the Commission to eliminate the slow, bureaucratic and expensive systems for registering land and described them as serious limitations which denied people who neither have the time, means nor contacts to demand the services of the Lands Commission.
The President emphasized the need for attitudinal change and stressed that “The business as usual attitude of some staff of the Lands Commission should within your tenure of office, be seen as a thing of the past.”
The rapid pace of converting peri-urban lands into building plots for brick and mortar, the president said should be top on their priority lists and expressed the urgent need to check the horizontal development of the country’s cities and implement more sustainable options.
It would be recalled that the old Lands Commission has been restructured and its mandate was expanded by the Parliamentary Act 2008(Act 767).
The Act brought four land sector agencies namely; the Survey Department, Land Valuation Board, Land Title Registry and the old Lands Commission under the umbrella of the “new” Lands Commission.
Significant reduction in the turnaround time for title registration from the current seven months or more to less than three months, the President said should engage the attention of the Commission. This, he said will serve as an indicator in measuring their performance during their tenure in office.
President Mahama further described the multiple systems of records keeping at each of the four (4) Divisions of the Lands Commission as a clear demonstration of an obvious challenge in implementing the spirit and letter of the Lands Commission Act, 2008(Act 767). He therefore directed the Commission members and management to as a matter priority take steps to quicken and smoothen the integration of the four Divisions into a real single corporate body.
The President also directed them to quicken the business re-engineering processes of the Commission and ensure the establishment of the Customer Service and Access Units (One-Stop-centres)
The Chairman of the Lands Commission, Alhaji Bakari Sadiq Nyari, stated the readiness of the Commission to give policy direction to the government in land administration especially on the growing phenomenon of large scale land acquisitions for agriculture, rapid urbanization and phenomenal growth of settlements.
The Commission, Alhaji Sadiq Nyari explained would also provide the needed guidance for development of lands by the local and traditional authorities.
Alhaji Sadiq Nyari gave the assurance that the Commission will not shy away from taking bold decisions as well as breaking away from the normal to spur the Commission on a better path to fulfilling its mandate.
Speaking in an interview, the Acting Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Dr. Wilfred K. Anim-Odame, expressed optimism of the Commission’s readiness to transform the Lands Commission into a centre of excellence and called for attitudinal change among staff of the Commission in order to contribute to productivity for national development.
Members of the Lands Commission include: Alhaji Bakari Sadiq Nyari, Chairman; Dr. Wilfred K. Anim-Odame, Member; Nii Okaija Adamafio, Greater Regional Representative; Mr. Alfred A. Ajene, Upper East Regional Representative; Mr. Benjamin S. Y. Wureku, Western Regional Representative; Nii Osah Mills, Ghana Bar Association Representative; Mr. K.D. Osei, Town and Country Planning Department Representative; Mr. Ismaila Alhassan, Northern Regional Representative; Kumbun Na-Yiri II, National House of Chiefs Representative and Mr. Graham Wilberforce, Central Regional Representative.
The rest are; Mr. Samuel Anku, Environmental Protection Agency Representative; Mr. Hudu Siita, Upper West Regional Representative; Naikwao Otuo V, Ghana National Association of Farmers and Fishermen Representative; Osabarima Adusei Peasah IV, Eastern Regional Representative; Mr. Francis Thalamus Doe, Volta Regional Representative; Mr. A. Fiah, Ghana Institution of Surveyors Representative and Nana Bosoma Nkawiri II, Brong Ahafo Regional Representative.
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