Finality brought to TEN dispute…
The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), in a unanimous decision on Saturday, ruled that there has not been any violation on the part of Ghana on Côte d’Ivoire’s maritime boundary.
The Tribunal decided not to use either of the base points advanced by the two parties as the starting point on land for drawing the line into the sea.
There were fears that Ghana’s TEN Fields, which hold an estimated two billion barrels of oil, could have been affected by the ruling and the whole country was on tenterhooks. A moratorium placed during the litigation prevented Tullow Oil from drilling 13 additional wells.
The ruling is great relief to the country which, for five years, battled out this maritime dispute with its western neighbour, Cote’ D’Ivoire.
Both countries have shown a lot of maturity by choosing a peaceful means of resolving their differences over the boundary that separates them in the Atlantic Ocean.
The two countries did not allow the maritime dispute to drive a wedge between them; they have cooperated normally as ‘brothers’ in ECOWAS, and at Nana’s investiture, President Outtarra was the Special Guest of Honour, whilst the dispute was being heard at ITLOS.
At the international level, we have cooperated to ensure that our cocoa farmers who control 60% of world output, are given better deals, and so on. The ruling will not impair the sterling relations between the countries, as our bloodlines permeate physical borders.
It was colonialism that put us in this situation; the colonialists seemed to have bothered little about tightening those loose ends when they were departing, leaving us to fight one another over dividing lines both on land and at sea.
Dr Kwame Nkrumah noted at the founding conference of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963, that: "There is hardly any African state without a frontier problem with its adjacent neighbours.”
The question that arises is: has the situation changed several decades after Dr Nkrumah made this statement and asked Africa to come together?
He said: “Unless we succeed in arresting the danger through mutual understanding on fundamental issues and through African unity, which will render existing boundaries obsolete and superfluous, we shall have fought in vain for independence.”
He went on to say that: “Only African unity can heal this festering sore of boundary disputes between our various states. The remedy for these ills is ready in our hands. It stares us in the face at every customs barrier, it shouts to us from every African heart. By creating a true political union of all the independent states of Africa, with executive powers for political direction, we can tackle hopefully every emergency and every complexity.”
Need one say more about the need for Africa to be more united and single-minded in the way it deals with itself and in the way it deals with peoples of other parts of the world? African leaders, the ball, as they saying goes, is in your court,
Real Estate Bill must not linger too long…
Considering the huge housing deficit in Ghana, and the astronomical rent charges that tenants have to cough up just to shelter themselves and their families, information that a Real Estate Bill is to be presented to Cabinet before, and onwards to Parliament, is good news.
We say it is good news in the hope that its passage will bring a modicum of sanity to bear on the sector, where so-called market forces (greed, in the main), have made the provision of accommodation for family, an agony for many a bread winner.
The Bill is expected to streamline the sector by regulating the sale, purchase, rent and leasing of real estate and fixed assets.
Additionally, when passed into law, the Act should serve to attract private capital to help bridge the country’s growing housing deficit that is reckoned to be around 1.7 million housing units. Deputy Housing Minister, Freda Prempeh, gave the assurance that the final draft has been submitted to Cabinet for perusal, and that they are also working on a Rent Act simultaneously.
There is little doubt that with increased urbanization and population growth, the housing would have to expand to meet this demand. However, in the absence of any policy, law or enactment, the tendency to exploit the situation becomes even more pronounced and that is why it is welcoming that both the Real Estate and Rent acts are in the making.
We have made attempts to attract private capital to help bridge the housing deficit in the country but without explicit laws regarding the purchase and sale of lands in the country, the situation remains pretty much informal and subject to the whims and caprices of individuals who may be landowners, and players in the construction sector.
The need to streamline the sector cannot be over-emphasised as demand increases with population growth. We need to ensure that there is a structured manner in which land can be acquired, sold or disposed of, so that the numerous land litigation cases that dominate the country’s law courts, can be reduced to the barest minimum.
Food, clothes and shelter are basic human needs that should be guaranteed to all. However, the least we can do is to streamline the sector so that it entitles as many that are capable of acquiring property, to their keep.
We need to speed up the process so that there is no gap in our land administration sector, even as we are seeking to attract foreign direct investment in various projects that involve the acquisition of land and landed property.