Benito Owusu-Bio

The Lands Com­mission is in the process of securing US$85 million investments from a private firm to enable the roll out of technology and capacity building project for improved land administration services.

The five-year project is expected to commence next year following completion of all agreement and arrangement with PDB Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian-owned land administration firm.

Mr Owusu-Bio (middle) being conducted around the Client Service Office by Mr Arthur (right)

It is expected to focus on digi­tally mapping the country, resulting in the establishment of a National Spatial Data Infrastructure, digital records processing and keeping, training of land administration staff and provision of new tools and equipment for the operations of the commission.

Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, interacting with the media during a working visit to the Client Service Unit of the Lands Commission in Accra yesterday, said, the private investment was necessary to enable the commis­sion carry out its operational trans­formation for enhanced service delivery.

He noted that, the agreement had gone through the legally required procurement process as well as extensive auditing to ensure the government was not shortchanged.

The drafting of the agreement, he stated, followed engagement with PDB Ghana Limited which had been ongoing for more than two years to ensure all areas of partnership were covered.

Mr Owusu-Bio said that, in the absence of the private partnership, the commission would have been compelled to rely on its internally generated funds, which was likely to extend the project completion date by about 10 years.

He explained that the recent re­port by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which showed that the Lands Commission was the most corrupt institution in Ghana in 2021 was a wake-up call for the commission to undertake both administrative and structural reforms.

“We have to tackle the undying bad image of the Lands Commis­sion. We need to erode that percep­tion from the minds of Ghanaians.

The only means for that to happen is to take advantage of technology to change administra­tive and operational structures of the commission. This is why we are keen on expediting the transfor­mational change that will meet the needs of clients of the commis­sion,” he added.

Acting Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Benjamin Arthur, said as part of strategies to address delays in land documen­tation processing, the commis­sion had deployed technical staff including geomatic engineers to the frontline desks to be able to assist clients go through the processes without hitches.

He urged the public to deal with the commission when in need of land administrative services and not middlemen or individual workers of the Commission, who were likely to demand extra fees and charges.

The Lands Commission, Mr Arthur said, had also established a complaints centre that would receive the concerns and assist in ensuring that clients were given services that meet their needs.

He noted that, the orthopho­tography that would be generated from the mapping of the country could be assessed and used by different agencies that rely on maps for their operations, thereby saving them cost that would be incurred in developing their individual ortho­photography.

He said a new map would replace the old map which was developed in 1974 and enable the commission keep records digitally.

 BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS