Mr. Benito Owusu Bio, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has called on stakeholders to work closely with the Ministry to help stem illegal mining.
This, he stressed, would save the environment and the country’s water bodies.
He said the activities of illegal mining were negatively affecting revenue mobilization, adding that the recent world economic challenges had necessitated the need for the government to look within the country to mobilize all available revenues.
The Deputy Minister made the call during the inauguration of the Western North Regional office of the Administrator of Stool Lands at Sefwi -Wiawso.
Mr. Bio lauded the operations of the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) in optimizing the mobilization of customary land revenue to alleviate poverty in stool land-owing communities.
The Deputy Minister hoped that the current digitalization operations of the OASL would help the office to do more about its mandate and pledged the Ministry’s support to help address the challenges confronting the office to improve their operations.
“Some OASL officials are facing challenges including the widespread conversions of stool lands to family lands and the improper conversion of farmlands into galamsey sites making it difficult to assess and realize stool land revenue,” he said.
He tasked the staff of the new office to work diligently to ensure that the issues were addressed as soon as possible.
Mr. Percy Ayamgah, Assistant Director at the Western North Regional Coordinating Council, in a speech read on behalf of the Regional Minister, Mr. Richard Ebbah Obeng, called on OASL to coordinate with the relevant stakeholders and consult with the stool and traditional authorities on matters relating to the administration and development of stool lands.
The Regional Minister prayed that the new office would enhance stool lands revenue mobilization and disbursement to facilitate sustainable development and efficient management of stool land funds for the benefit of present and future generations in the Region.
Mrs. Maame Ama Edumadze-Acquah, the Administrator of Stool Lands, said OASL had increased its regional offices from 10 to 16 in line with its expansion drive to bring their operations closer to the people.
She said there were also offices in Wiawso, Bibiani -Anhwiaso- Bekwai, Aowin Municipal, Juaboso, Bia West and East and Suaman districts which she believed would deepen their operations within the Western North Region.
Mrs. Edumadze announced that the office of the Administrator of Stool Lands was collaborating with GIZ to digitize its operations throughout the country, which she believed would help in spatial identification of property owners to facilitate the payment of ground rents.
“The passage of legislative instrument (LI 2377) for the office of the administrator of stool lands Act 1994, Act 481, had empowered the office to monitor and ensure the judicious use of stool lands revenue by the various district assemblies to bring about development,” she said.
She called for a closer collaboration from all stakeholders especially traditional authorities for the preparation of policy framework for the rational and productive development and management of stool lands at all levels as enshrined in Article 267(7) and (8) of the 1992 constitution.
The Administrator of Stool Lands also called on other allied agencies to help in fighting illegal logging and mining in the country.
Katakyie Kwasi Bumankamah II, Paramount Chief of Sefwi-Wiawso Traditional Area, appealed to the government and the Ministry to restore the authority traditional authorities had to watch over forest and other natural resources.
He added: “Without such authority, we are rendered handicapped and cannot act or bring to order persons engaged in illegalities.”
The paramount chief suggested that the stool revenue given to traditional authorities should not be audited by the Audit service since such monies were meant for issues pertaining to the palace.