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General News of Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Source: GNA

Pay fair and prompt compensation for land acquired - GhIS

Accra, June 20, GNA - The Ghana Institution of Surveyors (GhIS) on Wednesday asked government to enforce the provisions of the constitution which makes the payment of fair and prompt compensation for lands acquired compulsorily. The Institution which made the call during a courtesy call on Mr Felix Owusu-Adjapong, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs cited government as the greatest defaulter of the provision and called for urgent attention to ensure that the situation is reversed. Mr J. A Abbosey, Senior Vice-President of the GhIS said an a way out government should channel interest accruing from the sale of public lands into a Land "Fund Fund" the purpose of developing other parts of the country.

He called for the resourcing of Land Sector Agencies to encourage the compilation and maintenance of land information document for the guidance of prospective investors.

Mr. Abbossey asked government to halt the sale of state lands by individuals and families while persons who encroach on public lands when arrested should not be set free on "orders from above" basis, because such orders demoralize both land administrators and the personnel from the law enforcement agencies.

On government contracts, services, works and goods, the Institution said it has noticed with consternation that surveying components of projects are awarded to other professional or companies disguised as "Omnibus Contracts". They, who are not surveyors, in turn sub let the surveying components of the contracts to actual surveyors at significantly reduced fees.

"We think this practice is not fair and the Institution would be grateful if the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs could prevail on his colleagues to reconsider it.

He said the survey Department presently has three billion outstanding consultancy fees to be paid to private surveyors who handled duties for the state, "the practice is not healthy .. since most projects are pre-financed by the executing consultants and contractors," Mr. Abbossey added.

Mr. Owusu-Adjapong, who was a one-time President of the GhIS, commended the Institution for their foresight. He however, asked them to go by laid down principles and government policy to bring changes within the one-stop concept, saying, " we need to discuss issues and see the way forward in developing a cohesive system of land administration in the country.