A group of Ghanaian Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) advocating for an appropriate land tenure system and rights for Ghana, are being pessimistic over the implementation of a Land Administration Project (LAP II) currently being rolled out in some selected districts in the Northern Region and parts of the country.
The Civil Society Coalition on Land (CICOL) has observed that, a back and forth posture adopted by some state agencies involved in the implementation of the project at the national level was hurting its overall objective, and urged them to go back to the drawing board or show some level of seriousness to justify the World Bank support.
The Ghana Land Administration Project, with support from the World Bank and other partners, intends to improve efficiency and effectiveness in the land administration system in Ghana. It is the principal programme for implementing the National Land Policy of 1999, and it is a long term programme to be implemented over a period of 15-25 years.
It is aimed at stimulating economic development, reduce poverty and promote social stability by improving security of land tenure, simplifying the processes for accessing land and making it fair, transparent and efficient, developing land market and fostering prudent land management.
LAP I started in 2005 to 2010 and LAP II started in 2011 and expected to end next year 2015. LAP II unlike LAP I, has four components and sub components/activities which include: Strengthening the policy, legal and regulatory framework for land administration; improving functions and business processes for service delivery; improving maps and spatial data for land administration; and human resource development and project management.
The Ministries of Lands and Natural Resources; Finance and Economic Planning; Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Justice; Trade and Industry; Food and Agriculture; and National House of Chiefs are the implementing agencies of the LAP II project at the national level.
|Akwasi Oppong Fosu, Minister of Land|
Also, at the regional level, Town and Country Planning, Lands Commission, Administration of Stool Lands, Lands Evaluation, Land Title Registration and Survey Department among others are supposed to be the implementing bodies.
But, at a day’s forum organised by the CICOL in Tamale, the Northern Regional capital, to keep its members abreast of developments related to the implementation of LAP II, participants wondered whether the various components of the project would be fully implemented by 2015.
The participants cited land documentation and issuing of building permits as some of the critical issues the project seeks to address, but for more than two years since implementation, it still takes more than three months instead of a proposed one month for citizens to acquire building permits when the need arises.
National Coordinator of CICOL Cecilia Bruce noted that, lack of commitment from the public, land owning groups, CSOs, media and state officials on land issues as well as low awareness by Regional Officers on implementation of LAP II was also affecting smooth implementation of the project.
She, like many participants at the forum, urged the various implementing agencies to harness their expertise and strengths in order to make the project a success so that citizens will not continue to face so much difficulty when documenting their land or seeking for building permits.
Ms Bruce also called on parliament to expedite action on the passage of the Land Use Bill and other related Bills which are part of the objective of LAP II.