The Lands Commission will, beginning next year, partner a private company to roll out an $85-million project aimed at transforming land administration in the country.

The local investor, PBD Ltd, will provide the capital and technical expertise for the five-year project. 

As part of the project, the investor will help to develop digital maps of the country, build the human resource capacity of the Lands Commission through training and retraining, retool the commission and help to consolidate the digitisation of land records.

The acting Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Benjamin Arthur, who made this known yesterday, explained that the plan was to ensure that the investor put in the needed resources to implement the intervention so that the Lands Commission would repay the investment over a longer period of time from internally generated funds.

“We have reached an advanced stage with the processes for the investor to come on board,” he said.

Mr Arthur said this when a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Land and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, paid a working visit to the client service and access unit of the Lands Commission.

The deputy minister’s visit was a follow-up to a directive by the secor minister to the Lands Commission to put in place immediate measures to stamp out the root causes of corruption at the state entity.

A study conducted by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2021 ranked the Lands Commission as the most corrupt institution in Ghana.

The data showed the top bribe-taking institutions in Ghana, with Lands Commission officers collecting the biggest bribes among public officials in Ghana.

The study showed that officials at the commission took cash bribes with an average bribe size of GH₵1,669.

As an immediate response to the minister’s directive, all front desk officers at the client service unit have been replaced with technical staff.

Comprehensive reforms

Mr Arthur explained that the partnership with the investor was a comprehensive move that would help to build a robust system to weed out activities that promoted corruption.

Mr Arthur said digitally mapping the country was crucial because it would take away the situation where various agencies developed their maps to their own specifications.

He explained that through the digital mapping process, the Lands Commission would establish a national spatial data infrastructure that would allow all agencies to tap into that data for their purposes.

“This will help to reduce cost, improve data quality and ensure standardisation,” he said.

Be diligent

Mr Owusu-Bio stressed that the commission needed to ramp up the reforms in the areas of human resource, structural and processes to shake off the corruption tag.

“What is important is that we want to make sure that the Lands Commission clear itself of the bad image it has in the public,” he said.

He described the public-private partnership initiative as revolutionary and positive and said it would resource the commission to deliver on its mandate.

The deputy minister also underscored the need for the Lands Commission to make sure that all illegal actors in the provision of services were removed.

SOURCE: graphic online

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