"Reforms in themselves do not necessarily bring change but rather it is the people involved in the implementation", he said at the inauguration of the Brong-Ahafo Regional Lands Commission in Sunyani. The 30-member regional Commission is chaired by Nana Bosoma Asor Nkrawiri 11, Omanhene of Sunyani Traditional Area and members were sworn into office by the Sunyani Supervising High Court Judge, Mr Justice Francis Opoku.
Alhaji Dauda said the Commission is now responsible for all issues involved in land administration, namely surveying and mapping, compensation and valuation, land registration and land management. "The Survey Department, the Land Valuation Board, the Land Title Registry and the Lands Commission Secretariat have been merged and a new Lands Commission with four functional divisions has been created," the minister said.
The new functional divisions are Survey and Mapping, Land Registration, Land Valuation and Public Vested Lands Management. Alhaji Dauda said what Ghanaians expected was a stress-free process for registering land and it is expected that the new Commission would reduce the bureaucracy, inefficiencies and frustrations of the public and "failure to do this will nullify all the reform efforts irrespective of the good intentions".
He said by the Executive Instrument Number 46 of February 18, 1961 some stool lands in Brong-Ahafo Region are vested in the President in trust for the various stools and named them as Dormaa, Nsoatre, Sunyani, Fiapre, Odumasi, Acherensua, Mehame, among others. "These lands were vested for town planning purposes and also due to numerous land-related chieftaincy disputes and customary allegiances that existed in the areas at the time of independence. These lands are currently managed by the Lands Commission".
He said the government is considering divesting some of these lands and would need the collaboration of the Lands Commission, adding that if the reasons for vesting are no longer valid the government would not hesitate to divest the lands.
Alhaji Dauda said in the management of vested lands, there should be collaboration between the Regional Lands Commission and stools as the vesting order did not extinguish the right of the stools. "The stools should be involved in all decisions", he said and called on the Regional Lands Commission to immediately develop guidelines that would give effect to the directive.
The Minister said it was also the intention of the government to return lands acquired by the state and which are no longer needed to their original owners but added that would be done on case by case basis.
He said an inventory of state acquired lands in Brong-Ahafo had already been done in three districts, namely Sunyani, Techiman and Wenchi and appealed to the Commission to study the reports and advise the government.
"Land issues in this country will continue to be an obstacle to our national development if the bottlenecks associated with land administration are not removed", Alhaji Dauda said.
He urged the Brong-Ahafo Regional Lands Commission to work hard to complement the efforts of government to deliver on its mandate to the people, adding, "the functions of the Commission as enshrined in the Lands Commission Act, 2008 is enormous but I have no doubt that you will be able to perform creditably.
Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye Marfo, the Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister, said "population pressure and economic interests had placed great value on land" and this had generated tensions, conflicts and the illegal activities of land guards.
He said the situation had also witnessed the wanton encroachment on school lands, sanitary sites and other public places. The Regional Minister expressed the hope that the Regional Lands Commission would work assiduously to ensure that litigations over land in the region were either eliminated or minimized to ensure steady progress in the region.
Nana Bosoma gave assurance that the regional commission would work as a team and to ensure that land litigations and conflicts were reduced or eliminated.