The Director for Special Projects at the Lands Commission, Mr Benjamin Quaye has said that, only ten percent of land records in Ghana have been digitized with Greater Accra being the only region.
Speaking at a panel discussion organized by Imani Centre for Policy and Education, to address the challenges of property registration in Ghana, he said that, with the effort to digitization under the Ghana Enterprise Land Information System (GELIS) project, 10 % has been digitized and the maps of the Greater Accra have been scanned into digital formats.
“Four districts have been digitized and we are now starting with the digital plotting in the Greater Accra Region, Western Region and we are moving on to Kumasi in the coming weeks. So I must say there have been efforts to move to the digital age.”
He added that, the government is also looking for other sources of funding to help with the Lands Commission’s move to becoming digital.
Mr. Benjamin Quaye, also revealed that, one of the challenges the commission faces is retrieving of information which has become difficult due to the fragmented nature of the records of land ownership and titles.
“One of the issues we have with regards to documentation of land ownership is that, the nature of the records that has been kept over the years is manual, so at times it becomes difficult to retrieve that information to ascertain the actual information.”
He further said that, although the lands commission has come together with its other departments, records are still fragmented and they are finding a way to merge the fragmented records.
Also speaking on the issue of the digitization of data on land ownership, Mr. Kofi Anokye, an independent consultant said that the inability by the lands commission to have gone fully digital was a failure on the commission’s part because, they have mishandled it.
Speaking also on some challenges faced in ascertaining a land title, he said one of the biggest challenges was with title registration at the Lands Commission and also conducting a search on land ownership, adding that another challenge was with the inconsistencies in reports from Lands Commission.
Private legal practitioner, lawyer Yaw Oppong as part of his contribution said that, “There is no ownerless land in Ghana” and as a results, land disputes happen all the time.
He reiterated the fact that, most land registrations in the country are under customary laws and are mostly done orally resulting in the difficulty encountered in the identification of actually owners of properties. He added that, most of the land transactions are also done orally resulting in no prove of transactions and evidence of ownership.
He then revealed that, some Lands Commission workers and lawmakers also aid in the acquisition of fraudulent documents with regards to lands, title and deeds registration.
He then admonished owners of lands to be fair and transparent in their dealings, adding that, should incase the Lands Provision Bill be passed, land issues will be a thing of the past.