A Lecturer at the Ghana School of Law, Dr Isaac Annan has asked the Lands Commission to set up a Customary Land Secretariat that will be responsible for explaining to prospective buyers which lands are available for sale and which ones are not.
In his view, this will be one of the effective ways of dealing with the issue of land litigations in the country.
Dr Annan said this in an interview with 3news.com on the sidelines of a three-day workshop held on Real Estate Law and Management in Ghana, organized by the Faculty of Law and Business, Laweh University College, in Accra.
He said “If you go to Customary Land Secretariat, it is critical that you will be able to know who really owns the land. What I will advise is that the Lands Commission must expedite action in making sure that the Customary Land Secretariat is established.
“So that when people now want to go and buy lands, they don’t just meet people on the street but they will go to an official place like Customary Land Secretariat and deal with them according to the law.”
When asked whether the state should take control over sale of lands in the country as part of efforts to mitigate land litigations, he answered that that will go against the fundamental human rights of the people because the laws permit the people to own their private properties including lands, which they can also sell to others.
“It also goes contrary to human rights, that is the right to own property. Property is a human right issue because ours has to do with the cultural antecedent, you cannot disown families from their lands.
“The best form of getting lands is from the state but because of our cultural and because we are purely a traditional society based on customs and the rest, it will be difficult to state that the state should take over the lands.”
The Dean of the Faculty of Law and Business at at Laweh University College, Mr Kaaka Dello-Ziem explained the rationale for the workshop.
He said it was it provide the right legal knowledge in the real estate sector of the economy.
“Since I assumed office as the Dean of Faculty of Law and Business, I have seen a lot, having studied through Law School, being in academia, I have observed a lot of challenges in the real estate industry which affect both the purchasers or people acquiring either land or property and the sellers as well as their agents.
“Why is this challenge so prevalent? It is soo prevalent due to the lack of legal framework which is making the real estate industry having some kind of challenge in its development. But I must assure you the real estate industry is one of the biggest industries that is creating jobs for Ghanaians yet, it is the area that has a lot of chunk of litigations at the courts.
“It doesn’t bring the faster development that Ghanaians need. If a land is being litigated for so many years or a property is under litigation for so many years then it sort of stuck development and it denies the potential buyer or owners of enjoying their properties for commercial benefits.
“As a result, the only way we can resolve the issue is giving the people the needed or the desired knowledge by educating them with the legal framework.”
Globally, real estate contributes to about 50% of the world’s assets, according to a concept note prepared for the workshop.
This contribution is critical for the economic success of the world. Like any other industry, the impact of COVID-19 giving rise to a turbulent financial market has had a bearing on real estate in Ghana.
The World Bank (2022) has indicated that Ghana’s economy continues to suffer the impacts of the pandemic as growth is yet to get back to pre-pandemic levels, and the war in Ukraine could compound this. The developments are expected to raise global prices for several essential commodities adding to prior inflationary pressures in Ghana.
According to the Government of Ghana, affordable housing remains a significant concern in Ghana. The housing deficit is over a 1.2million because every Ghanaian prefers to own their own house. Unfortunately, due to costs, land guards, timelines, population growth, people desirous of becoming home owners have had to either abandon their aspirations.
Notwithstanding, the housing shortage in Ghana follows the general economic principle of demand and supply. According to a report published by Doris Dokua Sasu (2021), real estate contributed about GHS1.6 billion to Ghana’s GDP in 2020 prior to the onset of COVID-19. This means a massive demand for housing and prospects for developers to take advantage of this demand and provide accomodation/housing to meet these demands.
The GIPC also estimates that the introduction of regional and international agreements such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) provides enormous opportunities for people in the real estate sector to explore its advantages and contribute to the socio-economic development of Ghana.
Therefore, it is crucial for investors, policymakers, developers, sales representatives, and the general public to understand the real estate industry and how it operates to make informed decisions regarding any investment, sale, or purchase.
By Laud Nartet|3news.com|Ghana