The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has applauded the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor for his exemplary leadership in tackling matters relating to lands and natural resources of the country.
According to Otumfuo, since assuming office, Hon. Jinapor has discharged his duties and responsibilities with hard work, humility, truth and integrity.
This, he said, among others, will take the Minister very far in his political career.
The Asantehene made this remark at the end of year meeting with the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs at Manhyia in Kumasi on Thursday, December 16, 2021.
The occasion was also to enable the Minister address the 39-member Regional House of Chiefs on government’s policies in the lands and natural resources sector.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II further called for an amendment of the Constitution to make chiefs signatories to mining concessions.
Again, he suggested that traditional leaders be given equity in mining companies that operate within their areas to enable them also benefit from the natural resources on their land.
According to him, if the chiefs owned equity in the mineral resources, they would be the first to protect the resources and prevent the menace of illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
He tasked Chiefs in his jurisdiction not to engage in multiple sale of land and warned that any chief found culpable will be destooled.
Mr. Jinapor, in an address, described the New Land Act 2020, as a composite law that encompasses all issues regarding land administration in Ghana.
He said Section 2 of the Act, criminalised ‘landgaurdism’ and grants a sentence of 10 years to anyone who engages in that “forceful conduct.”
The Act, he said, also stipulates the establishment of customary land secretariats across all traditional areas, adding that foreigners cannot purchase and own land for more than 50 years in the country.
The Minister also announced the setting up of a committee to look into matters and concerns raised by the Chiefs relating to the entry of forest reserves by miners.
He bemoaned the fact that 80 percent of the country’s forest, since 1900, has been depleted and reiterated that government has currently banned reconnaissance, prospecting and mining in forest reserves and declared them “No go areas.”
Mr. Jinapor pleaded with the Chiefs to draw his attention to anyone or company prospecting in forest reserves, saying “prospecting for over 3 to 10 years is mining and must be stopped immediately.”
He also expressed gratitude to the Asantehene for the invitation and assured the House that his Ministry will continue to collaborate with Otumfuo and his Council to mitigate the challenges in the sector, while improving performance at all levels.
The Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission, Mr. James Dadson said the Commission is poised to open more district offices to help decentralise their services.
“We will work with you, Nananom, to register all boundaries to prevent overlaps and bring peace,” he assured.