A Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Benito Owusu-Bio has on behalf of the Sector Minister, Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor, chaired a crunch meeting with the National Chairman, the Executive Secretary and his deputies, the various Chairpersons and Regional Lands Officers of the Lands Commission.
The meeting was last week convened at the instance of 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 has 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 affects drainage systems, the Military’s private Lands given out to private persons, Forest reserves being encroached in the North among others.
He stressed that going forward, all land transactions must seek express approval from the Sector Minister before they are 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 needs strict policy guidelines to ensure a mechanism which will 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 keep proper records of all transactions done in the Regions and ensure that all things are done in a proper manner.
The Chief Director of the Ministry, Prof. Patrick Agbesinyale in a comment hammered on the fact that all Lands are owned by the State through the Ministry and for that matter the Ministry has every right to be in the know and approve or not all land transactions when the need arises.
He therefore urged that the heads take the message of the Ministry seriously and comply and not to bring the name of the Ministry and Government into disrepute.
Participants at the meeting also agreed and pushed for the finalisation of an operational manual to help bring standardisation and uniformity in work of the Commission in the various regions.
All the 16 Regional Chairpersons and their Regional Land Officers were present at this meeting.