Land Acquisition Processes in Ghana

Ghana as a country is blessed with immense dynamics of landforms. When obtaining land in the country, there are certain procedures one has to go through to enable smooth acquisition such as appropriate registration with the relevant agencies in order to avoid future disputes and forfeiture.

Land acquisition largely goes through certain administrative processes with the Government providing a facilitating role in terms of giving legal and regulatory framework governing land administration and land use. The state intervention is to ensure that there is transparency, accountability, and security after investors have acquired such lands.

There are four categories of land ownership in Ghana governed by both customary practices and enacted legislation. These are:

1. Individual/Private Lands: these are lands owned by individuals and private entities

2. Stool/ Skin Lands: these are lands under the custodianship of various chiefs

3. Family Lands: these are lands managed by Heads of families assisted by principal members of the families.

4. State and Stool Vested Lands: these are lands managed by the Lands Commission

The lease period for an acquired land for industrial or investment purposes and residential purposes for foreigners (Non-Ghanaian) in Ghana is 50years and for Ghanaians is 99years.

 

Procedures to Acquire and Register Land

It’s always advisable to follow due diligence to avoid being dragged into a never conclusive land disputes by ensuring the following:

(a) Deal with the rightful owner of the land recognized by law. A quick official search will do in addition to neighborhood questionings and supporting documents from claimed owner. Do an original survey of the said parcel of land and ensure the plan used for the search is for the exact land of interest.

(b) Engage the services of a licensed surveyor/registered member of Ghana Institution of Surveyors.

 The following procedures depend on the type of land involved;

A) Individual / Private Lands-Registration procedures

1.  Investor (lessee) negotiates with the actual owner (lessor) of the concerned land and three copies of the indenture executed. Each of them should have two principal witnesses.

2. This document must have a site plan prepared and endorsed by the lessor and lessee attached.The site plan should be certified by a licensed surveyor and the Regional Surveyor and duly dated.


3.  A solicitor of the Supreme Court endorses the indenture.

4.  Documents submitted to Lands Commission for processing and statutory fees paid.

5. Documents released for stamping at Land Valuation Board and Tax Clearance Certificate obtained at Internal Revenue Service.

6.  Indenture registered at Deeds Registry at Lands Commission and Title Deed released to lessee.

B) Stool/ Skin Lands-Registration procedures

1.  Identification of the land by the investor, community engagement, negotiations, holding of local fora, gender considerations, the presentation of the investment proposal with justification for the extent of land required.

2. Three copies of the indenture executed by the investor (lessee) and the chief (lessor).

3. This document must have a site plan prepared and endorsed by the lessor and lessee attached. The site plan should be certified by a licensed surveyor and the Regional Surveyor and duly dated.

4. A solicitor of the Supreme Court endorses the indenture. 

5. Documents submitted to Lands Commission for processing and statutory fees paid.

6. Chairman of Lands Commission grants concurrence and documents released for stamping at Land Valuation Board.

7.  Applicant obtains Tax Clearance Certificate at Internal Revenue Service and the document forwarded to the Deeds Registry of the Lands Commission to be registered.

8.  Applicant (lessee) pays first year's ground rent to the lessor after receiving the Title Deed of the document from the Deeds Registry.

 

C) Family Lands-Registration procedures

1. Investor (lessee) negotiates with the Family Head and principal members (lessor) of the family of the concerned land and three copies of the indenture executed. Each of them should have two principal witnesses.

2. This document must have a site plan prepared and endorsed by the lessor and lessee attached. The site plan should be certified by a licensed surveyor and the Regional Surveyor and duly dated.

3. Three copies of the indenture executed between the family Head and principal members of the family and the applicant should be endorsed by a solicitor of the Supreme Court.

4. Documents submitted to Lands Commission for processing and statutory fees paid.

5. Documents released for stamping at Land Valuation Board and Tax Clearance Certificate obtained at Internal Revenue Service.

6.  Document registered at Deeds Registry at Lands Commission and Title Deed released to the lessee.


D) Leasing of State and Stool Vested Lands-Registration procedures

1. Investor applies to Lands Commission for parcel of land.

2. Lands Commission gives approval, if the parcel of land is available.

3. Applicant pays requisite fees and charges and documents prepared by the secretariat of Lands Commission.

4. Indenture executed by Chairman of Lands Commission and the lessee

5. Lessee pays ground rent and registration fee and the documents released for stamping at Land Valuation Board.

6. Lessee obtains Tax Clearance Certificate at Internal Revenue Service and document finally registered at Deeds Registry of the Lands Commission. Original copy of document released to lessee.

Overall the Lands Commission with its four divisions: the Public and Vested Land Management Division (PVLMD),  the Land Title Registration Division (LRD), the Survey and Mapping Division (SMD) and the Land Valuation Division (LVD) exist to ensure land acquisition in Ghana is seamless provided one goes through the required processes accordingly.

Source: GIPC