Lands Ministry To Go Digital

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Minister of Lands, Dr. Denis Sandy

By Amin Kef Sesay

A three day retreat that was organized by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning ended on Saturday in Bo, Southern Sierra Leone.

The theme for this year’s event was:  “Consolidating the Achievements Made So Far by the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning under the Bio-led New Direction Administration.”

This theme was stoutly deliberated upon by officials of the Ministry who worked on developing further strategies to consolidate the huge gains made so far.

The first day of the Ministry’s Annual Retreat looked at the Administrative Division headed by the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Israel Jigba, who outlined achievements made so far under the leadership of Dr. Denis Sandy.

In his welcome address, Mr. Jigba started by appreciating staff of the Ministry as well as all auxiliary staff for attending what he referred to as a  very important retreat.

“As a Ministry, we gave an update to His Excellency President Dr. Julius Maada Bio on our achievements, successes and challenges before coming to this Retreat,” the PS noted.

Mr. Jigba called on members of staff to deliberate on the work of the various departments in the Ministry as recommended by the Chief Organizer, the Hon. Minister of Lands, Dr. Denis Sandy.

The PS called on Departmental Heads to frankly discuss issues relating to their work within the Ministry and proffer tangible solutions to any ongoing challenges.

The Minister, who doubled as Chairman of the program, Dr. Denis Sandy, outlined his Ministry’s achievements, successes and progress made so far with the support of his Deputy Rex Bhonapha.

Dr. Sandy, in his brief statement at the Sidami Hall in Bo said, they were celebrating their achievements because of collective effort by all including his team of Surveyors, Country Planners, Land Guards, the Media and Seasoned Administrators within the Ministry.

He called on Staff to implement all that would be agreed upon during the Retreat in Bo.

Director of Housing and Country Planning, Augustine Kai Banya, appreciated the various Units under his Department and asked them to continue the good work for the development of the country.

Acting Head of Building, Madam Mariama Tutu Vandi, lauded the successes and gains her Unit has made so far under the Leadership of Dr. Sandy.

She said her Unit has collected over Nine Hundred Million Leones so far from building permits as required by Law.

Madam Tutu Vandi ended by calling on Sierra Leoneans to cooperate with her Unit for their permits, noting that her door is always open to accommodate good and law-abiding citizens.

The presentations ended with a speech by the Directorate of Lands and Survey. This Department is currently headed by a Young and Vibrant Expert, Mr. Tamba Dauda, who talked about the positive developments made so far in connection with the challenges around the issue of State Lands.

He also gave updates on the number of citizens who have acquired State Lands, the number of acres of Lands reclaimed and how much his Department has generated for Government through Freehold and Leasehold.

Director Dauda assured all and sundry of the effectiveness of the dispute mechanism within his Department. He called on Sierra Leoneans to do proper documentation for State Lands already acquired.

The Minister, Dr. Denis Sandy appreciated the efforts of his hard working and dedicated staff across the country and urged them to be ready for the task that lies ahead of them. The Minister also applauded the entire team for the commendable successes within his two years in office.

The Deputy Minister, Rex Bhonapha, in his address to staff of the Ministry, admonished them to be more focused and united towards the work of the Ministry.

Hon. Rex Bhonapha told the gathering that because of the unity that exists between himself and the Minister, he was given the task to organize this all important retreat, which ended successfully.

Minister Sandy ended by speaking to the media on the three days activities in Bo:

“Our successful two years in office shows that we have worked for the people of this country”

“This Retreat brought together all staff working for the Ministry of Lands across the Country”

“We have provided Lands to many Sierra Leoneans and reclaimed many lands illegally obtained by some people”

“We have emphasized on country planning at the new site within the country and also focused on development control with regards the blocking of access roads in order to mitigate flooding and save lives and properties”

“We want to move from paper documentation to digitalization of Land Title Registration, a system that would frown at duplicating documents for land grabbers in the country.

Some of the resolutions are as follows:

That the Ministry is now going to focus on Land reclamation; Land allocation and distribution; access road clearing; planning of cities like York, Number 2, Morgegba, Grafton etc.

The Ministry will also focus on development control which is in President Julius Maada Bio’s New Direction Agenda for the Ministry of Lands Housing and Country planning.

Whiles observing the appropriate COVID-19 guidelines, the humble and kindhearted Minister also engaged his Staff and Auxiliaries in Scrabble, Drought and Ludo games at the end of the occasion in Bo. This shows a character of humility and inclusiveness.

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