Land Commission and the Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) completes ten days awareness campaign on the Land Authority Bill

The Land Commission in collaboration with one of its partners, Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) has completed a ten-day intensive awareness campaign on the draft Land Authority Bill.

The awareness campaign, which started on December 15 and ended on December 24, 2015, targeted seven counties of Liberia, which included Montserrado, Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Margibi, Bong and Sinoe.

The rigorous awareness event was intended to increase understanding about the Land Authority Bill aimed at generating the essential support from the citizens for the speedy and timely passage of the draft legislation.

The awareness campaign also highlighted radio spot messages in simple Liberian English including ten local vernaculars.

The messages were designed to disseminate information about the Land Authority Bill, increase education on land issues and to also rally the support of constituents in order to encourage their Lawmakers to promptly approve the two bills (Land Authority Bill and the Land Rights Bill) that were submitted to them by the President of Liberia.

At the same time, eye-catching strikers bearing four key messages about land rights, land management, land governance and land administration were printed on water resistant material and distributed across the targeted seven counties.

The campaign also included the placement of message bearing strikers on commercial, public and private buildings, motorcycles, vehicles and facilities of radio stations highlighting land issues.

Liberia’s land administration and management system has negatively impacted the socio-economic and political wellbeing of all Liberians. Property rights in land are insecure and characterized by weak governance, including outdated policies, laws and regulations, weak institutions with little institutional coordination, and limited accountability; all of which creates an unstable environment, increasing conflicts over land, and high levels of corruption in the land sector. The institutional framework for land is fragmented among a variety of government agencies, which has led to ineffectiveness, considerable confusion, poor delivery of services, and corrupt practices.

In February 2012, the Land Commission (LC) constituted a Land Administration Task Force, comprising the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME), the Center for National Document and Record Agency (CNDRA), the Forestry Development Authority (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ministries of Public Works, Planning and Economic Affairs, among others, to review the policy, legal and regulatory, as well as the institutional arrangement for land administration and recommend options for reforming and improving the land administration system in Liberia. While the task force was progressing with its work, the Commission held discussions with the President of Liberia relative to the speedy enactment of a law, which will facilitate the creation of a new land agency.

Subsequently, in February, 2015, the Land Commission presented to the President of Liberia, the draft Bill to establish the new land agency to be named, the Liberia Land Authority (LLA).

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in September 2015, submitted to the National Legislature, a Draft Bill to Create the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), for consideration and passage into law. This follows the submission in December 2014, of the Land Rights Act, for which public hearings were held on August 10, 2015.

Similarly, public hearings on the Liberia Land Authority Bill were held on Wednesday September 30, 2015 for which Heads of the relevant ministries and agencies of government were invited to provide justification why this Bill should be passed into Law.

Now that the fifth session of the 53rd Legislature has opened, it is highly expected from a wide range of the Liberian people that the Land Authority Bill will passed into law as soon as possible in order to give the agency a comprehensive mandate and broad implementation authority over land matters in Liberia.

The Land Governance Support Activity (LGSA) is a USAID sponsored five year project being implemented by TETRA TECH.

Liberian Observer

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