The Lands Commission has been ordered by Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the Republic, to move quickly on the digitization of the land purchase process.
On December 7, 2022, President Akufo-Addo said during his speech to the first National Land Conference, which was hosted by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, that it is unacceptable in this technologically advanced period for many sectors of the economy to still run mostly by hand.
“We cannot deliver an efficient land administration, if documents on land have to be processed manually. We must, therefore, expedite action on the digitalisation process, and ensure that the Commission goes fully digital. As you go into technical discussions, it is my hope that this will be key on your agenda’’, he said.
The President reiterated the importance of land to the socioeconomic development of the nation and pointed out that our land resources are still under tremendous strain from our population’s fast growth and competing land uses.
According to the President, it is for this reason that, “during the first term of my presidency, we prioritised the passage of the Land Bill, which had been in the draft stage for some twenty (20) years.”
The Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036), which he assented to on 23rd December 2020, the President explained, “revises, harmonises and consolidates laws on land to ensure sustainable land administration and management, as well as effective and efficient land tenure systems.”
Successive Governments have sought, through numerous initiatives, to improve Ghana’s land administration regime. The most significant intervention has been the Land Administration Project (LAP), Phases 1 and 2, which sought to lay the foundation, and consolidate urban and rural land administration and management systems for efficient and transparent land service delivery.
These interventions have produced some results, including the reform of the Lands Commission through the enactment of the Lands Commission Act, 2008 (Act 767), the establishment of five CSAUs at the Lands Commission to improve service delivery, the establishment of Customary Land Secretariats, reforms in the Judiciary through the establishment of specialized land courts and the automation of some courts, the enactment of the Land Use and Speculation Act, and the adoption of the Land Use and Speculation Regulation.
“But laws, in themselves, do not resolve problems. It is their application and effective implementation that yield the requisite results. That is why this conference, which brings together diverse people from different sectors to deliberate on the nexus between land and socio-economic development, is so crucial”, he emphasized.
The President continued, “Fortunately, the Land Act, 2020 (Act 1036), provides a strong foundation for fashioning out a workable and efficient land administration. The Act has far-reaching provisions which, if implemented, will go a long way to build the effective land administration we desire’.’
The creation of Customary Land Secretariats to oversee the management of stool, skin, family, and clan lands, limitations on large-scale family and clan land sales without the approval of the Regional Lands Commission, the Regional Commission’s authority to survey and demarcate land, the provision for electronic conveyancing, and specific guidelines for the compulsory acquisition of land, including the payment of compensation, are among the most important of these, according to him.
The Act “also addresses the challenges associated with boundary demarcation, and clarifies rights and interests in land, and persons with capacity to alienate land. It provides stringent jail terms for various offences related to land, such as landguardism, falsification of records and fraudulent transactions in land administration”.
The Lands Commission and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, which are in charge of raising awareness of and providing education about this crucial piece of legislation, received praise from President Akufo-Addo.