The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of lands and forestry, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, has said that land is a strategic asset which forms the basis of every development activity and hence the need for formal land administration to promote development at all levels.
He stressed the significance of the Lands Commission in serving the government and the general public, particularly in managing public lands and other lands vested in the President, as prescribed by the constitution.
Mr Owusu-Bio said this at the commissioning of the Bono East Regional Lands Commission office, which is the fourth among six offices scheduled to be established in the six new regions of Ghana.
This move, the Deputy Minister said, falls in line with Article 258 and 260(1) of the 1992 constitution, which mandates the creation of the Lands Commission’s regional offices across the country.
Mr Benito Owusu-Bio also said that the creation of the lands commission office in the region will help advise the government, local authorities and traditional authorities on the policy framework for the development of the region and the entire country.
He also outlined some socio economic importance of land administration, saying that land administration services including; survey and mapping, valuation of property, rating state land acquisition, land management and registration are critical services that help propel the socio-economic growth of the country.
Mr Benito Owusu-Bio stressed that a decentralised land administration system will boost investor confidence in these new regions and ensure that efficient land administration services are brought to the door step of every Ghanaian and thereby render the era of people travelling long hours to access land administration services a thing of the past.
He further noted that these offices are fully furnished with modern computerized systems that are geared towards the government’s digitalization agenda.
“Mr. Chairman, what is unique about the establishment of these offices in the new regions is that the offices shall operate in a fully digital environment.
“This will help achieve speed and reduce the usual delays associated with processing of documents in a manual environment”, the deputy minister said.
The representative of the Omanhene of Techiman traditional area Nana Amponsah Yeboah Ntakra, Ankobeahene, expressed his joy for the commissioning of the regional office saying that the people of Techiman have been yearning to witness such an important feat in the life of the region.
Nana Ntakra said land disputes have been a big challenge in the sub region and therefore he believes that the commissioning of the new office, will aid residents of the Techiman and the entire Bono East region to appropriately register their lands and bring an end to these disputes.
To the people of Techiman and the Bono Region, Nana Ntakra said “the Lands Commission has come to stay and so we really need to take advantage of their presence to do the needful and register our lands and I know they will also corporate with us accordingly”
On behalf of the Omanhene of Techiman, the chief expressed his sincerest gratitude to the ministry of lands and the lands commission for honoring the region.
The Bono East Regional Coordinating Director, Mr. George Padmore Mensah, who represented the Bono East Regional Minister, Mr Kwasi Adu Gyan, said they are elated to have a lands commission office in their region and urged the commission to effectively deliver on their mandate to promote the judicious use of land in the Bono East region and ensure that land use in the region, is in accordance to sustainable development principles.
Similar office for the Lands Commission in the Ahafo Region has been commissioned with the aim of decentralizing its work and bringing land registration process to the door step of its clients in the area.
At the inauguration ceremony, Mr. Owusu-Bio observed the exercise was a constitutional mandate for the Commission to establish its offices in all the sixteen administrative regions of Ghana to facilitate the Commission’s decentralisation agenda.
He emphasized the commission’s role in management of public lands vested in government by the constitution for development and called on local authorities and stakeholders to use the appropriate procedures to register their land.
“With the digitized and state of the art facilities now, processing of documents will be fast, efficient and thereby reduce delays associated with manual processing’, he said.
The Deputy Minister expressed satisfaction that the suffering of clients traveling to Sunyani to process their land title documents was going to be a thing of the past and called for support of all stakeholders for the smooth and efficient operation of the office.
The Ahafo Regional Director of the Commission, Mr Joseph Arthur, pledged the commission’s readiness to ensure efficient and effective decentralization of land administration systems that could boost investors’ confidence in these regions.
He noted the office is fully furnished with all the necessary tools and equipment to achieve its mandate and called for collaboration with stakeholders.