Lands Ministry meets regional officers on public land transactions

Following complaints received from the region on management of public lands, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, last Thursday held a crunch meeting with all stakeholders in the sector in Accra.

In attendance were the National Chairman, the Executive Secretary and his deputies, the various Chairpersons and Regional Lands Officers of the Lands Commission

The meeting was convened at the instance of the Sector Minister as a result of some complaints received from the Regions in recent times on the management of public Lands.

He disclosed to the Heads that the Ministry had received a number of petitions from Traditional heads, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), the Military among many others.

Mr Owusu-Bio outlined some of the petitions, saying that most had to do with the allocation of Lands which adversely affected drainage systems, the military’s lands given out to private persons, Forest reserves being encroached in the North among others.

He stressed that going forward, all land transactions must be expressly approved by the Sector Minister before they were handed out to any public or private entity.

“Bring all the pressure to us here in Accra and let us handle it, don’t go issuing any land, anywhere,” he added.

The National Chairman of the Lands Commission, Mr Alex Quaynor,in his submission, indicated that the Ministry and the Commission needed strict policy guidelines to ensure a mechanism which would help deal with all the issues and also guide the work of the Commission across the country.

He also urged that all the Regional heads gathered kept proper records of all transactions done in the Regions and must ensure that all things were done in a proper manner.

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Prof. Patrick Agbesinyale, in a comment, hammered on the fact that all lands were owned by the state through the Ministry and for that matter the Ministry had every right to be in the know and approve or not all land transactions.

He, therefore, urged that the heads take the message of the Ministry seriously and comply so as not to bring the name of the Ministry and the government into disrepute.

Participants at the meeting also agreed and pushed for the finalisation of an operational manual to help bring standardisation and uniformity into the work of the Commission in the various regions.

All the 16 Regional Chairpersons and their Regional Land Officers were present at the meeting.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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