As the various sectors of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources goes digital, the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands,( OASL) which is also an office under the Ministry, has been highly commended and encouraged to, among others, continue in the good work of digitization of their operations.
Speaking on behalf of the Sector Minister, Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor at the opening of OASL’s 24th Annual Review Conference held at the Volta Hotel, Akosmbo on the theme “OASL @ 25, accessing the past, redefining the future of customary land administration”, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural in charge of Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio said digitalizing OASL operations and making efforts towards acquiring more regional and district offices are steps in the right direction, especially in the light of efforts being made to bring land administration services to the doorstep of the people.
The Deputy Minister also applauded the Administrator and her staff for their role in the socio-economic development of the country, saying “the role of OASL in the Socio-economic development of the country cannot be underestimated. This can be seen in how revenue mobilised over the years have been used by the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies in their development activities in the form of schools, markets, community centres among others”.
“Traditional authorities have also been seen to use their portion of the stool land revenue in the development within the communities like building of libraries and scholarship scheme for their subjects. All these have been made possible because of your hard work as an office,” he continued.
He said he believes that if appropriate strategies are put in place, Ghana’s natural resources will have the potential to contribute significantly not only to the progressive socio-economic and political development of the country but also to the transformation of the economy.
In his speech, the Deputy Minister disclosed that the Ministry has plans to implement policies that will stimulate growth in the land and natural resources sector, stressing that one of the main policies is to liaise with the Ministry of Finance to secure clearance for the employment of right mix of staff to support the agencies, particularly in the regions and districts.
Mr. Benito used the opportunity to congratulate OASL on their 25 years in good administration of the Stool Lands in the country and hoped that the next 25 years will even be better.
He urged staff and management of the OASL to delve deep and bring ideas that will improve the fortunes of the office in the ensuring year and also intensify its publicity on all fronts to sensitise the general public on their obligations to pay rent, dues, royalties and all other payments to boost revenue generation.
He said it is the expectation of the Ministry that the OASL will continue to collaborate with the Lands Commission to facilitate the establishment of the Customary Lands Secretariat to improve customary lands administration at the local level.
“This we believe will go a long way to minimize land-related disputes and conflicts”.
He then assured OASL that the Ministry’s doors are widely opened to assist them, saying that the Ministry will put in place the necessary support mechanisms to help the OASL achieve its set mandate as enshrined in the enabling Acts and Regulations.
The Administrator of Stool Lands, Surveyor, Mrs. Maame Ama Edumadze-Acquah in her opening statement at the conference on Tuesday, 8th February 2022 thanked the Minister for gracing the occasion saying that it’s an absolute privilege to have him travel all the way to attend their 24th Annual Review Conference.
She said the purpose of the Annual Conference is to assess the activities of the previous year (2021), identify shortfalls and find ways to improve them.
She disclosed that during the year 2021, the efforts of the OASL culminated into mobilising an amount of GHC 105,677,023.09 which is about 80% of their annual target, adding that 90% of this amount has been disbursed to their beneficiaries for development in various communities and traditional areas.
Ama Edumadze-Acquah outlined a number of issues to be discussed at the conference, making mention of the review of OASL Act 1994 ( Act 481), efforts towards developing Guidelines for the use of Stool Land Revenue, finalizing on OASL Rent Application among many other issues.
She commended her staff for their support and hard work during the year under review, and hoped that the discussions and decisions made at the ongoing review conference will go a long way to better the lot of the OASL in 2022 and the years ahead.