Is the Digital Land Title Registration Proposal Likely to Fix Our Land Administration Setbacks Considering the Failure of Numerous Attempts Made Under the National Land Policy, Purposely Enacted for Effective Land Management and Administration Carried Out Under the Framework of LAP or Is It Going to Be Yet Another Platform for People to Waste/Make Money
This write-up is inspired by a question from Mubarak Abubakari, one of our cherished readers. This is dedicated to you, Muba😊
The digital land registration has become of National concern, following the Vice-President’s recent promise to ensure the digitization of land title registration process (land records) by 2018 as part of the digital Ghana Agenda. This, he said is expected to speed up service delivery and block opportunities for corruption in the land administration process. He mentioned the risk of being defrauded as a major problem faced by landowners.
Since the year 1994, a number of attempts had been put in place to improve land registration system. The first is the National Land Policy which was introduced in the year 1994 with the aim of making judicious use of the nation’s land and its natural resources by all sections of the Ghanaian society in support of various socio-economic activities undertaken in accordance with sustainable resource management principles and in maintaining a viable ecosystem. This, however could not stand the test of time due to certain loopholes in the policy. To address these problems, the Land Administration Policy (LAP) was introduced in 2003 to develop a sustainable and well-functioning land administration system that is fair, efficient and effective, decentralized and that which ensures land tenure security, to reduce poverty and enhance economic/social growth in the country.
The Digital Title Registration System is therefore set out as a means of solving some of the problems such as the multiple sale of land, lack of effective documentation leading to litigation and indeterminate customary land boundaries leading to litigation identified in land administration.
The question is, is the proposed Digital Title Registration System going to fix the above mentioned setbacks?
The answer is a BIG YES, only if the correct measures are put in place for it to work
The first is to ensure that an adequate land information system is provided. Land Information Systems are at the core of an effective Land Administration.
As it stands now, the Customer Service Access Unit ( CSAU) which is a LAP initiative has provided a one-stop shop (front desk) for submissions, payments and collection in the process of land title registration. Although there is a front desk, clients keep doing follow ups from the back offices during their title registration process, and hence, bringing in human interference in the process. This in turn, causes delays in title registration. Therefore, the human interference which the CSAU sought to eliminate has not fully been eliminated. Human Interference is the number one cause of challenges in attempts to digitize the system. This is chiefly due to the absence of an effective Land Information System.
The 1st come, 1st serve principle should be highly observed with kin supervision, once the digitization kickstarts. With an effective records system, documents should be worked on with regards to who came first without the need for clients to keep paying their way through the process.
Adequate Land Information Systems should be put in place such that, personnel from the Lands Commission can go about stamp duty inspections, among other similar processes required for the acquisition of a land title certificate at ease without the need to be guided by the landowner. Government should be ready to pay workers of the Lands Commission well to eliminate deliberate attempts by Land Officers to slow down the system.
It is however not enough to put measures in place. It must work, and for it to work, each and every one of us has a part to play in its effectiveness to ensure its success!