Ghana: Modalities for Land Title Registration in the Offing

31 January 2019

The multiplicity of land ownership in the Greater Accra Region is making it difficult for the Land Commission to reduce the turnaround time in land title registration.

The Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Alhaji Sulemana Mahama, said while registration period had been fairly reduced in some other regions to between 15 and 25 days or few months, same could not be said of the nation's capital due to ownership which dragged processes.

The government had vowed to collaborate with the commission to reduce duration of land title registration, which took between one and three years, to 30 days but two years in office, the situation persisted particularly in Accra.

Alhaji Mahama who was speaking to the Ghanaian Times yesterday on the side lines of the commission's Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra, however, promised of coming out with modalities to achieve the government's vision.

"Already, we are achieving 15 and 25 days respectively in the Western and Eastern regions, but Accra has a peculiar case as the families are the ones who owned the lands and sometimes we do not know the numbers and boundaries of these lands.

"We, therefore, have to investigate and be sure who has the capacity to grant the land, which sometimes ends at the court and the interpretation takes time. Besides, we also have logistical and human resource challenges, which affect timely registration, but we are hoping by next year, we should have significantly reduced the duration to 30 days," he stated.

Mr Mahama disclosed that the commission had put in application to employ about 250 personnel to augment the present staff strength while engaging the government on requisite tools to aid the institution in executing its mandate.

"Between 2013 and 2018, we lost more than 500 personnel and hope that this year we get technical and financial clearance to employ about 250 specialists across the region to aid our work and reduce the loopholes that allow some staff to abuse the system," he said.

The executive secretary charged all regional and district land officers to put their shoulders to the wheel to change the negative public perception of the commission and contribute meaningfully to socio-economic growth.

"We are going to put strict monitoring mechanisms in place to check our work output, so that people do not come to work at the time they like, among other acts of indiscipline. Your being at the commission from hence will depend on results you produce," he cautioned.

Addressing the AGM, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, in an address delivered on behalf of the minister, tasked the commission to make all efforts necessary to restore confidence in the formal land sector which she believed was a catalyst for rapid growth for the economy.

"If an investor has to wait for over six months to obtain a title certificate, he may weigh other attractive options. The importance of security of title to business growth cannot be underestimated," she observed.

The deputy minister mentioned other emerging issues within the land sub-sector, including land speculation, land guard menace, encroachment, land litigation and clear demarcations of Ghana's international boundaries as issues worthy of critical attention by the commission.

The government, she stated, would soon introduce public/private sector partnerships in land administration to open it up for more innovations and enhance service delivery, urging the commission to cooperate with government to achieve the desired outcomes.

The three-day AGM held on the theme, "Transformational land administration; setting the agenda towards Ghana beyond Aid," brought together regional and district land officers, stakeholder agencies as well as development partners to evaluate performance of the Lands Commission in the year 2018 and proffer solutions to strengthen its mandate moving forward.

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