The Deputy Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Mahmud Tarawalie made this disclosure on Wedneday during the opening ceremony of a two day National Land Conference at the Miatta Conference centre in Freetown.
Amidst numerous challenges in land administration, ownership, utilization and control in Sierra Leone, the government with support from the United Nations Development Programme and World Bank among others decided to formulate a National Land Policy.
“As a government, we want to clear the issue of land ownership-that issue of land tenure system in Sierra Leone that is preventing the ordinary man from contentedly acquiring land. We want to stifle the countless difficulties attached in acquiring land.”
According to the Deputy Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment Mahmud Tarawalie said that Sierra Leone has been confronted with serious challenges in the land sector. He went on to state that the lack of land policy over the years has contributed to the current chaotic situation of poor land management, land grabbing and increased land litigation. He said they therefore need to address those challenges in the land sector if they are to sustain development goals.
He maintained that the ministry have computerized the land system in the country and that clarification at the moment will be done by means of computer, he added the introduction of the computer system has made the job easier for them as well as facilitating the land ownership among the locals.
Mahmud Tarawalie stated that the policy would prevent land grabbing, but could foster equitable distribution of land in the country.
In his statement the Sierra Leone Country Director, United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) Samuel Gbaydee Doe said land has been a finite resource and it is getting increasingly scarce in all countries across the world and the scarce land resource was subject to competing pressure from urbanisation, infrastructural development, agriculture, biomass fuel production and provision of key ecosystem services.
President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Thursday March 23, 2017, launched the National Land Policy at State House in Freetown. The lack of a National Land Policy over the years has contributed significantly to the current chaotic situation of poor land management, land grabbing and increased land litigations.
One of the key priorities of the Government of Sierra Leone in the Agenda for Prosperity has been the effective and efficient management of land as the aspiration of the policy is to move towards a clearer, more effective and just land tenure system as a fundamental prerequisite for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
In a brief statement following the launching of the policy, President Koroma said the policy will address ownership, access and other related issues of land management in the country. He encouraged all to work collaboratively to implement the policy and thanked donors for their support in putting together the policy.
The Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment, Diana Konomanyi, said the National Land Policy proposes to improve upon and strengthen the existing land administration and management systems. The policy, she stated, maintains the dual land tenure systems in the Western Area and the Provinces. Specifically, it provides a framework for institutional and legal reforms geared towards a more effective land delivery system. She added that the policy will address the land tenure rights, land use planning and regulation, land laws and environmental sustainability to mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce land disputes and provides for an equitable and fair share of the land system across the country.
In a Power Point presentation, the Deputy Director of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing, Mr Jobo Samba, said the policy aspires to move to a clearer, more efficient and just land tenure system that shall provide for social and public demands, stimulate responsible investment and form a basis for the nation’s continued development. Mr Samba stated that the policy provides that sovereign title to land belongs to the people of Sierra Leone, dual land system maintained, sovereign power of the state to levy tax on land, land law reform, recognition and protection of land rights without discrimination, state power of development control, redistribution and settlement among others.