The Chairman of the Liberia Land Administration Project (LLAP), Dr. Cecil Othello Brandy, has disclosed that a huge gap exists in the land sector.
Brandy made the disclosure in response to a question posed to him by the Daily Observer at the official launch of the LLAP, which was held on Thursday at the German Embassy near Monrovia, saying, "there is a huge gap in the land sector, and as such, this project alone cannot address all challenges. Therefore, we need help in lots of areas."
While he named Bong, Cape Mount, Bomi and Montserrado Counties as counties where land disputes have already been settled, he described the remaining counties as problematic, including Margibi (specifically Duazon and Todee), which he referred to as "corridors of trouble."
He said it is challenging, but it needs a collective effort to address these problems in the sector.
Meanwhile, the project is a 5-year program at the cost of US$7 million financed by the International Development Association (IDA), and approved by the World Bank on September, 2017. It became effective on March 22 this year, and is implemented by the Liberia Land Authority (LLA).
According to Brandy, the project is basically designed for the LLA to work in close collaboration with the USAID, UNDP and SIDA to avoid the overlapping functions to have a workable land administration system.
"The project which now targets six counties has not been determined by the LLA," adding that it has has four component as outlined: support to the Land Authority for inventory and analysis of tribal land certificates, development of a land administration system and project coordination monitoring and evaluation system. Its object is to strengthen the institution capacity of the Land Authority," Brandy said.
He said component one of the project has been designed based on the existing functions of the LLA and can be implemented while they await the passage of the Land Rights Bill which is currently before the 54th national legislature.
Support to the Land Authority
Under the project, procedures and regulations to operational the mandate of the LLA as outlined in the LLA act of October 2016, including but not limited to the functions and powers defined in article 8 of the Act, article 35, mandate areas of the Authority as well as article 36- functions of the executive director.
Component two-Support for inventory and analysis of tribal land certificates
During the former Land Commission, inventories of tribal certificates were conducted in four of the 15counties Bong, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Montserrado.
However the project will now conduct inventories of tribal certificates in six counties the remaining 11counties will be establishing based on data base.
Component-three Development of a land administration
This area is core to the functions and responsibilities of the Land Rights Authority which include the supply and installations of Geodetic Network in order to build up a land administration system that will enable the LLA to fulfill its mandate.
Component -four Project Coordination monitoring and Evaluation System
This Component will focus on strengthening institutional capacity of the LLA for project management and implementation support. For the project implementation project Unit PIU, the Procurement Specialist has been recruited.
Meanwhile according to the financing agreement between the Liberian Government and the Development Association, the project will run from 2018 to 2023.
The official launch brought together the representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, Forestry Development Authority, and Ministry of internal Affairs, FAO among other agencies.
In another development, the World Bank Liberia Country Manager Larisa Leshenko, during the official launch of the project, lauded the government of Liberia for a successful conduct of land administration reforms in recent years, including the endorsement of the Land Rights Policy 2013 and the establishment of the Liberia Land Authority in 2016. According to her the new Liberia Land Authority requires financial and technical support to achieve the land tenure security in the country, that which she said is significant for Liberia's economic development.
In a related development, Jefferson Cooper special assistant to the Minister of Internal Affairs pledged the ministry's support to working with the LLA, adding that in post-war Liberia, the issue of land conflict has been challenging in the land sector of the country. He noted that without land there will not be development, "saying we are grateful to our international partners for its continuing support to the land sector of Liberia."Cooper further said the 7m dollars grant project is going to help to resolve and manage challenges faced by the LLA over the years.