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City of Banjul
Saturday, October 31, 2020

MINISTRY DISCLOSES PLANS TO RECONSTITUTE LANDS COMMISSION

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In an exclusive interview recently, he told The Standard that plans are at an advanced stage to come up with another lands commission. 

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Mr Bayo said: “A good part of my time is devoted to consideration of land disputes. The way I want to resolve that is through the reconstitution of the lands commission. We want to review the draft composition of the lands commission and make our recommendation to the Office of the President for consideration. 

“We are already in the process of identifying an office space for them so that they can start their work no later than the middle of this year. And then all land issues will be referred to them so that the ministry will focus on other issues of importance to its functions.”

Describing 2015 as a crucial year for his ministry and its satellite departments, Bayo pledged to embark on major transformations. 

He added: “We will work on regularising whatever we have been numbed with for such a long time, like land disputes, not having proper maps of growth centres, streets and roads not named in the growth centres and Area Councils having poor revenue bases and not having competent or skilled staff. This might look like a monumental task, but these are our goals as a ministry.”

Bayo said he was also alive to the abnormalities in the real estate industry and would move to regulate the environment. 

He said: “Some issues regarding estate developers in the country have been referred to me. Unfortunately, they were only referred to me after they had gone to court. And my policy is that once a dispute has gone to court, I leave it for the courts to decide unless if an important intervention is required and I am asked by the relevant authorities to intervene. 

“What we are doing is to get all estate developers registered with strict guidelines that have to be formulated. They have to operate within those guidelines so that their clients who claim that they are being defrauded can be saved, and to make it impossible for just anybody to jump up and claim that he or she is an estate developer. 

“Even the district tribunals will have to be aware that people cannot wake up one day and say they are selling land. Our goal is to come up with policies that will help us curb the issue of land dispute by the year 2016.”

Speaking on decentralising, Mr Bayo asserted that his ministry will shore up the regional governments in ensuring that decentralisation becomes a reality. 

He said: “You understand that it is very easy to criticise the Area Councils, but we want to ensure that in the shortest possible time, no later than 2016, the Area Councils are strengthened in terms of resource mobilisation and manpower. The Area Councils have serious deficiencies at the level of manpower and resources. The director of finance should have some relevant accounting qualifications and not just AAT first level. If they are to get those qualified people, there has to be corresponding remuneration. If councils don’t have that, we have to find a way to help them. And I can tell you that we are going to find a way out of this as far as councils are concerned. Work in councils will not be business as usual and this will generate efficiency in respect to the decentralisation process.”

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