The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. John Peter Amewu has hit the ground running.  A few days after assumption of duty he has embarked on a familiarization tour to the agencies of his Ministry.  At the Lands Commission, which was his first point of call, he emphasized on the Government’s commitment to address the problems associated with the acquisition of title to land in the country.

Addressing the Management and Staff of the Lands Commission, Hon. Amewu enjoined them to put in their best to enhance productivity and ensure the realization of a drastically reduced turnaround time for land title registration to 30 days as pledged by the Government in its manifesto.

The Minister reiterated that land, being an important natural resource, is an area the Government takes very seriously.  He expressed his disappointment at the negative image of the Lands Commission.  He pointed out that the incidence of multiple sale of lands, land guards, aggressive grabbing of lands by individuals, the numerous land related litigations and the sale of government lands among other complaints do not augur well for the country’s investment drive.  He described the present situation whereby it sometimes takes more than two years to register a land as frustrating and unbearable.  He condemned the attitude of some members of staff of the Commission who deliberately delay the process for their own private gain.

On the challenges facing the staff, Hon. Amewu assured them of his preparedness to do his best to address those problems but was quick to add that improving conditions of service in the Commission should go hand in hand with increased productivity and reliability.

The Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Wilfred K. Anim-Odame assured the Hon. Minister of their readiness to build a strong partnership with the Ministry for the transformation of land administration in the country.  Referring to the establishment of five Clients Services Access Unit (CSAU’s) across the country, he expressed the hope that, the turnaround time for acquiring land in the country will be significantly reduced on completion of the digital platform which the Commission is fervently working on.

Dr. Odame-Anim highlighted that some of the challenges of the Commission are high staff attrition, lack of logistics including vehicles and computers.  He also appealed to Government for a 100% retention of its internally generated funds as land administration and management is expensive and capital intensive.

The Hon. Minister and his entourage then proceeded to the Minerals Commission to interact with the staff.  At the Minerals Commission, the Hon. Minister did not mince words on the Government’s determination to fight the illegalities in the mining sector.
He pointed out that though Small Scale Mining contributes about 30% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country, the need to address the galamsey menace cannot be over emphasized.  “We will encourage the right practices in small scale mining to address the illegalities.  The extent of pollution of the environment caused by illegal mining is unacceptable”, Hon. Amewu bemoaned.  He also expressed the Government’s resolve to revive AngloGold Ashanti operations.

He applauded the Mineral Development Fund initiative which he said will go a long way to boost the development of mining communities.  He said he will see to the strict implementation of the Mining and Minerals Act to reverse the challenges besetting the sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Tony Aubynn on his part expressed his appreciation to the Hon. Minister for his visit and pledged the support of the Commission to work assiduously with him to curb the illegalities in the mining sector.