The Parliamentary Committee on Lands and Forestry has advised the Lands Commission to work towards its 2022 target of ensuring that persons seeking to register their lands are able to complete the process within 30 days.
The Committee in its report on the budget performance of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for last year expressed dissatisfaction with the progress made to expedite automation of land administration services.
It is expected that the automation of land administration services will go a long way to address challenges relating to land tenure system in the country – an issue which has been the source of multiple disputes.
The 2022 deadline is part of a raft of reforms to transform Ghana’s land administration system.
Notwithstanding, the Committee commended the Lands Commission for reducing the turnaround time for other services such as deeds registration.
The average time for deeds registration reduced from 42 days in 2018 to 30 days by the end of 2019 with official searches also reducing from 15 days to 10 days during the same period.
The committee’s report revealed that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources exceeded its revenue collection target in 2019 with Internally Generated Funds (IGF) for the year under review being exceeded by GH¢88.9m.
The Ministry had projected collecting GH¢374.6m but ended up with GH¢463.5m.
An amount of GH¢90.7m out of the IGF collected was paid into the Consolidated Fund while a total of GH¢298m was retained by the agencies and GH¢74m was paid to third parties including the Traditional Authorities as stipulated by the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands.
Furthermore, the report revealed that although an initial amount of GH¢525.9m was approved by Parliament for the implementation of the Ministry’s activities for the 2019 fiscal year, the amount was revised downwards to GH₵506m during the mid-year budget review.
Nonetheless, as at the end of the year 2019, an amount of GH₵696m representing an increment of GH₵189.7m was released to the Ministry and its agencies.
The Ministry attributed the budget overruns to the payment of allowances for beneficiaries recruited for the Youth in Afforestation Programme.
Sufficient funding was not provided under the Ministry’s budget to pay for the allowances of the beneficiaries, the Ministry of Finance’s attention was consequently drawn to the issue and additional funding was released to cater for the shortfall, the report indicated.