General News of Tuesday, 29 May 2018
The Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) is set to make proposals to the Land Bill that will insulate developers from litigations.
Leadership of the Association says litigations over land acquisitions often stall developments because court injunctions on projects are the cause of the increased housing deficit.
Executive Secretary for GREDA, Sam Amegayibor, indicates the trend affects investments in the housing industry.
“You have a project on-going and have secured funding, as soon as you go to the land and starts excavating, here is an injunction from the court, and grantors are fighting over the land. Do you know what happens after the investments? Everything goes to waste” he said at a media event.
Ghana’s housing deficit since 2000 has been estimated to be more than 1.5 million housing units.
With continuous population growth and demand for housing, the numbers could be hitting 2 million currently.
Security of tenure, cost, title deed registration, issues of leasehold and freehold, are some of the problems associated with land acquisition.
Land security and litigation gave birth to land guards –a common phenomenon now in Ghana, where thugs terrorise people who try to develop lands they have acquired.
Since 1999, there have been efforts to have one effective law governing the land system in Ghana but there has not been much success.
The introduction of estate developers into the system has also come with its own challenges, though it has introduced some professionalism into the industry.
The Land Bill 2018, when passed into law, will address the challenges related to the acquisition and use of land in Ghana.
It is currently before the Select Committee on Land and Forestry in Parliament.
GREDA is, therefore, tabling some proposals in the on-going land bill debate to address the trend.
Mr Amegayibor says such inputs will propel government’s effort to ensure sustainable housing supply.
“Land acquisition is not easy in Ghana. We are making frantic efforts to make some provisions in the Land Bill to ensure that in the events that this happens, developers don’t stop; the developer will be allowed to continue while the litigation continues in court.
“If there is money to be paid the money will be paid in an escrow account and when they finish fighting in court, the one who wins can collect the money and continue the project,” he said.
Meanwhile, a provision in the Bill will confer full ownership to residents in settler communities such as Zongos who have lived there for 50 years, according to the technical director for the Lands Ministry, Sulemana Mahama.
Lands and Natural Resource Minister, Peter Amewu, at a stakeholder forum in April this year, expressed optimism that the proposed Land Bill when approved by Parliament and assented by the President, will bring some relief to Ghanaians desirous of owning land property .