HON. OSAH MILLS INAUGURATES CLIENT SERVICE ACCESS UNITS (CSAUs) OF THE LANDS COMMISSION

The Lands Commission has inaugurated its Client Service Access Units (CASUs) in Accra, Koforidua, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale and Bolgatanga in the Greater Accra, Eastern, Western, and Northern and Upper East regions of the country respectively. The Client Service Access Unit is a One Stop-Shop that will provide the general public with a single point of entry for all Lands Commission services.

Inaugurating the CSAU in Accra, the  Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Nii Osah Mills expressed his delight on attaining this feat as the journey to streamline land delivery system in the country has been a long and daunting one.

Explaining the circumstances, the Hon. Minister stated that as part of strategic intervention to improve land administration system in the country, 15–25 year long term land administration reform programme was initiated to implement the National Land Policy of 1999.  In view of this, the   Land Administration Project was launched in 2003 to lay the foundation for a sustainable, decentralized land administration system that is fair, transparent and cost effective to ensure security of tenure, Hon. Osah Mills reiterated. 

He stated that the current Lands Commission was established following the passage of the Lands Commission Act, 2008 (Act767). This Act, he continued, paved way for the previously four independent land sector agencies namely the Survey Department, Land Valuation Board, Land Title Registry and Lands Commission to be made Divisions under the current Lands Commission.   Despite this move, the Hon Minister pointed out, the Divisions continued to work independently so the Client Service Access Unit was initiated to ensure that the Commission operates as a corporate entity with the CSAU serving as the Front Desk for all Lands Commission services.

This, Hon. Osah Mills opined is to reduce administrative bottlenecks, public frustrations, promote quality land service delivery which will go a long way to improve the image of Lands Commission. The Hon. Minister expressed his satisfaction for the establishment of the CSAUs but was quick to raise the challenge of   sustainability of the standard of service delivery. He therefore tasked the Commission to provide his office with an Action Plan to ensure the sustainability of operations. “The sustainability of the operations of the CSAU is a fundamental challenge that must be addressed with all seriousness. In this regard, I will expect the Lands Commission to submit a comprehensive Action Plan on how they intend to sustain the CSAU and to extend its operations throughout the country” he emphasized. He urged the Management and staff of the Commission to translate the formal launching of the CSAU into visible changes in staff attitude to work and service delivery. 

The Hon Minister used the opportunity to thank the World Bank and the Department for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada for their roles in funding the Land Administration Project.

The Executive Secretary of Lands Commission Dr. Wilfred K. Anim-Odame pointed out that the need to address the duplications of activities, the demand for clients to visit several offices of the Commission and the unclear processes and procedures in land administration and other numerous challenges of land administration of the country called for the establishment of the CSAUs.

He expressed his delight on how the re-engineering of the business processes and the implementation of the CSAUs were undertaken by the staff of the Lands Commission without any external assistance. The CSAUs, Dr. Anim- Odame stated will reduce the turnaround time, reduce cost of doing business, minimize staff contact and improve transparency. He urged the staff for their cooperation for an effective implementation that will change the present public perception of the Commission. “To the staff let us remember that our collective efforts to achieve our aim are necessary to redeem our public image” he emphasized. He stated that the Commission has pledged its commitment to change and will not relent on its efforts.  He added that the Commission will acknowledge members of staff who flow with the change and punish those who deviate.

The Coordinator of the Land Administration Project, (LAP) Dr. Benjamin Quaye, on his part spelt out the long term plan of the Land Administration Reform of the government as follows:
•    enhance economic and social growth  by improving the security of land tenure,
•     simplify the process of accessing land,
•    foster prudent land management through the establishment of an efficient system of land administration at both State and Customary levels based on clear, coherent and consistent policies and laws supported by appropriate institutional structures.

He intimated that LAP refurbished and furnished office spaces for the CSAUs, supplied computers and accessories, installed servers and network infrastructures for the smooth running of their operations.  The Project, he continued also provided vehicles and comprehensive training for the front and back staff of the Commission. He expressed the hope that the Project Coordination Unit and the Commission will stay focused to ensure the attainment of the objectives for the establishment of the CSAUs.
 

The Country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Henry Kerali on his part commended the government and urged other agencies as the Passport Office and the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to emulate the initiative. He expressed the need to carry out the necessary reforms for the back office as well to ensure   efficient service delivery.  He advocated for a full automation of service and pointed out the urgency to roll out the Ghana Enterprise Land Information System (GELIS) that will support it.

He pledged the support of the World Bank and expressed his preparedness to assist the Commission address other challenges.  “I am fully committed to engage with you to address any challenges”, Mr. Kerali stated.

The  remaining CASUs in Koforidua, Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale and Bolgatanga in the Eastern, Western , Northern and Upper East regions of the country respectively were inaugurated by the Deputy Minister of the Ministry, Hon Barbara Serwaa- Asamoah.

Full operations of the CSAUs take effect from the dates of inauguration which are as follows:

•    Greater Accra           -    28th October, 2015

•    Koforidua                 -    30th October, 2015

•    Sekondi - Takoradi    -    12th November, 2015

•    Bolgatanga              -    4th November, 2015

•    Tamale                   -    5th November, 2015