By Millicent Senava Mannah
The Ministry of Lands has organized a Consultative Meeting on 8th August, 2023 with Voluntary Guidelines Technical Working Groups and MDAs on the draft regulations of the National Land Commission Act and the Customary Land Rights Act. The consultative meeting was held at the Ministry’s Conference Room at Youyi Building in Freetown.
In his opening remarks, the Minister of Lands, Dr. Turad Senesie, intimated that the two Acts (National Land Commission and Customary Land Rights Acts) are going to change the narrative of the country. According to him, the two laws were enacted in 2022, further revealing that one of the requirements for passing those proposed laws is that they should develop rules and regulations.
“Those rules and regulations are to support the smooth implementation of the two Acts. The two Acts have their main objectives, the Customary Land Rights Act has main objectives like, Title registration, dispute resolution and to promote investment that will not only be in the interest of the investor but of the country as a whole,” the Minister informed.
He added how the National Land Commission Act is there to support gender equality. “We want to see our women owning lands,” he said further stating that the law will support tenure right, promote tenure ownership, gender ownership and commercial ownership.
The Minister also disclosed that from now on lands in the provinces are going to be regulated not for personal interests but in the interest of the nation underscoring how all land owners in the provinces are going to register their lands at the District Land Commission in their respective districts.
The Minister emphasized that there are lots of Land in the provinces that are not been utilized.
According to him, land should be used to contribute to the country’s GDP stressing that if lands are used to grow agricultural products for exportation the country will stop being tied to the World Bank.
Turad Senesie stated that utilizing the lands for Agricultural purposes will even create employment for many people in the country, especially youths and such will minimize anti social behaviors among the youth.
“We have the responsibility to make Sierra Leone move and we have to look at these Acts carefully before we take them to Parliament for approval,” he sounded a word of caution.
He noted that the road from Sierra Leone to Kailahun is very good and accessible, but according to him, the problem is that people are very lazy.
Sonkita Conteh, National Legal Consultant, in his contribution said that the National Land Commission (Para Surveyors and Paralegals) Operational Regulations 2023, is geared towards regulating Para Surveyors and Paralegals in the country. According to him, the number of Surveyors in the country is very small.
He disclosed how the project intends to train people in the provinces as Para-Surveyors, who will be surveying lands in the districts saying they will only work in the districts where they are assigned also revealing that requirements for them to be trained would be about obtaining three to five credits in WASSCE.
Regional consultative meetings will commence on the 14th August 2023.