Lands and Natural Resources Minister Samuel A. Jinapor said the government’s priority is to ensure effective protection, preservation and use of the country’s lands and natural resources.
He said that according to the Constitution, these lands and natural resources are the property of the people of Ghana and that the duty of government is a fiduciary duty which requires responsible and intelligent management of the resources for the benefit of the people of Ghana.
The Minister was speaking at a press briefing organized by the Ministry of Information on Tuesday, July 20, 2022, to update the general public on developments within the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
Discussing some of the policies implemented by the ministry in the mining sector, Mr. Jinapor said that the government had adopted a new local content policy, which resulted in an increase in goods and services reserved for Ghanaians from 29 to 41. said , will ensure that some USD 2,000,000,000.00 that would otherwise have been exported, will be retained in Ghana.
Regarding small-scale mining, Jinapor said the government has taken a two-pronged approach of law enforcement and reform to clean up the sector. He mentioned some of the innovative policies such as introducing mercury-free gold processing equipment, revamping community mining programs, tracking earthmoving and mining equipment, and purchasing speedboats for patrol the waterways.
He said the government is also committed to diversifying the country’s mineral resource base, especially lithium and other green minerals, and adding value to them to ensure that we reap the full benefits of our resources. .
In the forestry sector, Mr. Jinapor said the government’s overall policy is to protect our forest and wildlife resources and also restore the country’s lost forest cover. Policies such as the Green Ghana Project, the Ban on Rosewood Harvesting and Trade, the Forest Investment Program, the REDD+ Program and the Cocoa and Forest Initiative are all geared towards this goal.
He also revealed that a committee will be inaugurated next week to implement a new green street project, aiming to plant trees in the median and avenues of all regional capitals in the country.
In the land sector, the minister said the government is committed to digitizing the records of the Land Commission to ensure efficient, transparent, responsive and orderly land administration with integrity.
This, he said, is being done alongside the decentralization of the work of the Land Commission, to ensure effective service delivery. He added that the Office of the Saddle Land Administrator has also developed an online application to improve the management of saddle and hide lands.
Jinapor said a public land protection team has been formed in the ministry to protect public lands from encroachment and reclaim those that have already been encroached. He warned those who trespass on public land to refrain, as under the new land law of 2020 (Law 1036), trespassing on public land is a criminal offence.
“We will not hesitate to demolish unauthorized structures on public lands as we are required to do by law. And if necessary, we will prosecute, in addition to the demolition, the offenders, ”said the minister.
He said the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, will continue to adopt and implement policies and programs that will ensure that Ghanaians benefit from the country’s lands and natural resources.