A proposed Lands bill, which is before the Lands and Forestry Committee of Parliament, has prescribed new sanctions for landguards who terrorise land owners in major cities and towns of the country, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, has revealed.
“[With the proposed Land bill] we have even gone to the extent of bringing in and defining people like landguards, and we have put in sanctions against those people. We have also extended it a bit to intestate succession and customary inheritance to do with land, and I will say it is a holistic one that will help regulate in ensuring that all problems regarding land administration in Ghana are solved,” he said.
He was speaking to the B&FT in an interview on the margins of the annual divisional seminar of the Ghana Institute of Surveyors (GhIS) in Accra.
The Land bill is meant to consolidate all fragmented existing acts into one blueprint and eventually become a mother-law that will deal with all aspects of land issues.
On the timeline regarding passage of the bill, he stated that it is presently in the custody of the Lands and Forestry Committee, following wider consultations with all relevant stakeholders.
“The Land bill – fortunately, I would say – is almost halfway through. It is with the Lands and Forestry Committee, which has gone through it and held several meetings with the public and stakeholders.
“As soon as Parliament resumes, they are going to bring it back to the floor and the plenary will look at it and take it through the various consideration stages. We understand it is a huge bill, but we will ensure it sees the light of the day before the end of this parliament’s tenure,” he said.
The Deputy Minister also indicated that a proposed Survey Council bill, expected to regulate the surveying sector, is currently before Cabinet and will soon be sent before Parliament for consideration.
The Chairperson of the Valuation and Estate Surveying Division, Surv. Alhaji Sulemana Mahama, appealed for government to ensure passage of the two critical bills – the Real Estate Agency and Survey Councils bills—in order to properly regulate the activities of surveyors in the country.
“Surveyor President, in redefining the future, survey practice must be regulated by legislation; and we trust that our new minister will make a difference by not adding to the list of ‘Honorable Promises’ of previous years, but vigorously support passage of the Real Estate Authority and the Survey Council bills into law. We trust that he will be the one who does this for us ‘within the shortest possible time’. Surveyors in Ghana will be eternally grateful if this is achieved during your tenure,” he said.
President of GhIS, Surv.Kwadzo Hohoabu, stated that the institution is ready to partner government through the provision of professional services in areas such as land surveying, acquisition and compensation, government estates and facilities management, project costing and management, value for money audit, research, and arbitration and alternative dispute resolution.
Furthermore, he urged government to revive the Real Estate Agency bill for consideration.
This year’s seminar has the theme ‘Valuation and Estate Survey Practice, Celebrating the Past, Redefining the Future’, and marks the Ghana Institute of Surveyors’ (GhIS) 50th anniversary.
The aim of the seminar is to provide a platform for objective, professional deliberation on aligning the current Valuation and Estate Surveying practice into new and emerging contemporary areas; to enhance competence in order to compete in the wider real estate spectrum and be able to efficiently build capacity for managing the varied challenges in valuation and surveying.
GhIS is made up of three divisions: namely Land Surveying, Valuation and Estate Surveying, and Quantity Surveying.
The different divisions of GhIS undertake annual seminars each year, as part of their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to deliberate on issues pertaining to our field of practice and also enhance performance of professionals in their field of work.
GhIS was established on 28th February 1969, at the General Meeting of the Ghana Branch of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors – during which a resolution was passed to that effect and the constitution was promulgated.