Transparency is essential to proper land administration
Transparency is crucial in making land administration simple and easily accessible to all and sundry, says Good Governance Africa (GGA) West Africa - an independent and non-partisan research and advocacy organisation.
Speaking at a two-day workshop in Accra, Executive Director of GGA-West Africa Tina Asante-Apeatu stressed the need for Ghana to institutionalise a professional, tailor-made and home-designed land administrator system that makes it easy to access credible land information.
“Good governance in land administration, pillared on transparency, will protect the property rights of individuals and enterprises as well as of the state, by introducing principles such as efficiency, effectiveness, civic engagement, fairness and impartiality, and rule of law in land-related public-sector management,” she noted.
She stressed that high cost, inefficient land officers, and prolonged procedures related to corrupt land registration practices have discouraged people from registering their land and properties. “This further leads to under-collection of land tax revenue.”
The lead facilitator, Prof. S.O Asiama - a lecturer and land administration consultant, noted that transparency is a critical component of a functioning land administration system; particularly in view of the scarcity of clear and credible information on land availability and transactions, and the poor dissemination of public information on land rights and policies.
“Should professional land administrator work diligently devoid of corruption, transparency can encourage civic engagement and stakeholders’ accountability by rendering the public decision-making arena more accessible. This in turn strengthens confidence in government and public agencies, and has a positive economic impact,” he said.
Professor Asiama opined that: “Poor land governance systems give birth to difficult access to land, ignorance of land policies and legal frameworks, lack of information on land transactions and prices, misallocation of land rights, incapacitation of women and vulnerable groups to participate in the land market.”
GGA-West Africa is an independent and non-partisan research and advocacy organisation that works to improve government performance on the continent by strengthening institutions and building consensus through research, capacity-building, sensitisation programmes, and orientation of the citizenry on best governance practices.
The workshop was for selected land administrators and traditional rulers – who are deemed the primary custodians of land – from the Western & Central Regions of Ghana to sensitise and introduce them to current processes and procedures in land administration.
Topics treated included but was not limited to accessing land information, organisational restructuring, professional ethics, and land registration procedures and processes.