Government of Liberia Launches Processes Leading to Digitization And Systematic Land Titling
MONROVIA – In a bid to help curtail the growing wave of land disputes and boost revenue generation in the country, the Government of Liberia (GOL), through the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), has officially launched the processes leading to the digitization and systematic titling of land in Liberia.
The project was launched at the Clara Town Football Field on the Bushrod Island, outside Monrovia on Friday, January 15.
It seeks to help strengthen urban and peril-urban land rights through systematic land titling, increase land-based revenue generating opportunities, introduce a modern digitized land administration.
The project was officially launched by Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah.
Speaking during the occasion, Minister Tweah pointed out that the combat against land disputes remains a major challenge in Liberia.
He stressed the need for citizens to obtain their deeds or titles for their lands to enable them get loans from the banks to engage into small or medium businesses.
He challenged the Land Authority to go the extra mile by creating awareness about the project in the various communities to prevent the misconstruing of the project by community dwellers and others.
Minister Tweah maintained that it is prudent that the LLA move into the communities to educate citizens on the significance of the project and its benefits to Liberia and its citizens, adding that, the project is not all about revenue generation.
“Land challenges are critical in Liberia. Lot of the issues we’ve had involve land ownership. The Land Authority has been set up to resolve those issues. Without title to your land, you can’t get money from the bank. If you have a title; it’s clear that you can go to the bank and the bank can give you finance to do your business. This project is here to help.”
He claimed that the project will protect the interests of land owners in various communities across the country, and as such, efforts much be applied to ensure that citizens who have their lands are given legal documentations.
Seeking Squatters’ Interest
Minister Tweah further expressed confidence that the project will give legitimate ownership to thousands of citizens who have been squatting on government’s lands for a prolong period of time.
“The government has no intention of taking people from lands they are squatting on. The government should be in the position to recognize these people, give them titles and stop calling them squatters. We should stop calling people squatters; let those squatters confer titles on squatters and let’s move on. There are too many lands here in this country; government gets plenty land”.
According to him, government remains obligated to give protection to people squatting on its lands, or have acquired those areas for several decades.
Minister Tweah further underscored the need for government to make clear its policies on lands being occupied by squatters to bring some level of relieve to Liberians.
“Let the people understand that you are here to give them protection, or register them to ensure that they have legal entitlement to their land. The message that comes from this project will convene a lot for the success of this project in other areas. Your don’t make our people scare. We are bringing solutions to our people”.
Giving an overview of the project, the Chairman of the Liberia Land Authority, J. Adams Manobah, Sr, disclosed that the project seeks to promote coherence among Liberians and ensure socio-economic growth and development in Liberia.
According to him, the project will ensure the provision of legitimate land deeds to people who have been squatting on government or other lands, or have help to develop those areas but do not have the relevant documentations to formally legalize their stay or claims.
He noted that the project will alleviate the fear factor most citizens are faced with in purchasing land to construct their homes or businesses.
Mr. Manobah further called for the cooperation of community dwellers because, according to him, the digitization and systematic titling of land project is the “lead” into a bigger project for the benefit of all.
“It will take us some time to know what we call systematic land registration. The intent is not to take away land from anyone or ask you why you are here-no. The intent is for you to explain your story to the people on the field or the Land Authority or government”.
“This project is a pilot project in Liberia and the intent is to make sure that every piece of land in Liberia has one legal ownership. Our intent is not to investigate or take you from on the land but to ensure that you have legal title to your land. We are here to help you and not to take your land and give it to anyone”.
He noted that though the land rights law of the country mandates the LLA to “understand every piece of land in this country”, the full implementation remains a challenge, noting that, “we have to start from somewhere”.
He further pointed out that government will sign contracts with local companies to also conduct a resurvey of the entire country.
Mr. Manobah pointed out that though government will not take anyone to court under the project, the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) put in place will ensure a win-win situation for everyone.
Speaking further, Mr. Manobah noted that the failure of citizens to acquire titles or deeds to their real estate properties, especially in the capital, is defrauding government of taxes.
“We all know that many of the areas we occupied in Monrovia, we do not have deeds or titles. And let us also know that the government heavily relies on revenues from the real estates”.
He expressed the hope that the new project launched by the government will help citizens raise monies from the leasing of their lands, prevent the loss of valuable properties and lives due to fire outbreak or health emergency, protection from law enforcement officers, among others.
“Majority of the cases we find in the courts today are land cases. But we want to make sure that by the time this project is completed every lot of land here will be laid out, and have a title”.