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Business News of Friday, 11 November 2016

Source: B&FT

GIPC lures investors with easy access to land

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The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) has established a database to register lands so that investors will be able to have easy access to land and increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows into the country.

Known as land bank, the GIPC will manage the database which will contain information on lands that are available for lease, whilst stretching a hand of facilitation to investors in the acquisition process.

Working hand-in-hand with traditional authorities and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), the GIPC is hoping to eliminate the land acquisition bottlenecks that put off investors.

"What we are doing is to make information on land, nationwide, available and accessible to investors. A prospective investor need not tour the whole country for land," David Laryea, Acting Director, Monitoring & Tracking at the GIPC, said.

Speaking at a GIPC Regional Sensitisation Workshop for representatives of MMDAs, traditional authorities and SMEs, in Accra, Mr. Laryea added that all that an investor has to do is to visit the land bank, which is a one-stop shop for available land for investment, select from the list what meets his or her requirements, then zero in on one or two, before embarking on a visit.

"A typical land bank database should provide the description, lease price, location, appropriate usage [residential, agricultural, industrial or multipurpose] and contacts," he said.

With the nation’s FDI inflows dwindling, since it peaked at GH¢6.8billion in 2011, to GH¢2.3billion in 2015, and GH¢1.9billion as at September 2016, the GIPC, according to Mr. Laryea, is looking at other avenues to boost the interest of investors in the country.

Ghana, he said, is losing out on millions of dollars due to the challenges investors face in acquiring land for projects.

"There have been instances where investors have been fraught with challenges to access land and they went back with their money. Our mandate is to promote and we count on every investor to actualise his or her dream and any binding constraint, with land being a major one, is of concern to us. That is why we believe that by expanding the base of information on land, it will go a long way to enhance accessibility," he said.

In a speech read on his behalf, the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, said the workshop is crucial because it will provide the platform to sensitise the MMDAs and traditional authorities on the need to make land available for investment purposes.

The forum, he said, is also meant to encourage local investors to register with the GIPC and serve as a forum to deliberate on how best entrepreneurs, as well as the MMDAs of the region, can attract a lot more investment into their operations.

He added that government believes strongly that the unit for development is the MMDAs. "It is in this vein that the GIPC has organised this meeting to gather here to deliberate on the ‘preferred’ investment areas that each MMDA and local companies may wish to present to it for promotion," he said.