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 HONOURABLE LAND MINISTER’S PRESS BRIEFING UPDATE
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Momodou



Denmark
11549 Posts

Posted - 06 Jun 2024 :  15:48:59  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Press breifing of Hamat Bah - June 5, 2024
HONOURABLE MINISTER’S PRESS BRIEFING UPDATE

KAMALO PRESS REPORT recent 2024
PREAMBLE

• In the third quarter of 2023 a Multi-Sectoral Task Force was formed to review the allocation of demarcated plots of land at KAMALO Industrial Layout. The Task Force was to conduct a comprehensive review exercise to thoroughly examine the allocation processes. This process was triggered by the public outcry that multiple and inappropriate allocation were made; this led to the creation of the multi-Stakeholder review.

• The Multi-Sectoral Task-Force comprised of the following institutions.
1. Ministry of lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs
2. Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment
3. Ministry of Justice
4. National Audit Office
5. Gambia Police Force
6. Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency
7. State Intelligence Services
8. National Physical Planning Board



BACKGROUND
• During the assignment the Task Force had to review the relevant Laws, Policies and regulations governing land administration and Management in the country.
• These laws and policies play a vital role in regulating land allocation, development, environmental conservation, and sustainable growth.
• The Task Force also conducted series of interviews with allotees and made several visits to the demarcated KAMALO industrial Layout for proper verification.
• During the review the Task Force was made aware of the existence of a development plan alongside a sketch plan to be emanated from the development plan detailing the layout design.

• The sketch plan was made of two (2) phases;
1. Kamalo Industrial Layout (Proper)
2. Kamalo Industrial Layout (Extension)

PREPARATION AND DESIGN
• It was revealed that the growing demand for industrial Land had led to the director of physical planning to inform the hon. minister of the availability of land at KAMALO suitable for an Industrial Layout. However, there was no documentary evidence provided by physical planning. Nonetheless, the proposal was endorsed and a planning authority meeting of the Banjul and Kombo Saint Mary’s Planning Authority.

DEMARCATION AND ALLOCATION
• Based on the sketch plan that was derived from the development Plan the Task Force noted that 40 plots were demarcated in the KAMALO proper and 28 plots in the KAMALO extension equaling to a total of 68 plots in both the proper and the extension.

• The distribution of plots in KAMALO industrial Layout as per different nationalities is as follows:

a) Forty-Seven (47) Gambians
b) Four (4) Mauritanians
c) One (1) Moroccan
d) Seven (7) Indians
e) 0ne (1) Chinese

• It is important to note that the number of demarcated plots is 68 and some allottees have been allotted more than one plot. Also, among the 47 Gambians includes naturalized individuals.



DETAILED FINDINGS
• The Task Force noticed that the lack of a National land Policy (NLP) has led to the lack of clarity of the mandates of various stakeholders in the Land administration process but also indicates lack of direction in the sector.

• The Task Force had limitations during the review as the master KAMALO file was missing and several attempts were made to retrieve the file but unsuccessful. The file contains information’s and correspondences between Ministry and relevant stakeholders leading to the establishment of KAMALO as an industrial layout.

• The information in this file would have given the Task Force the opportunity to understand how both KAMALO proper and extension was initiated and subsequently approved.

POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK FOR PRESERVATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT
• Adhering to the laws would ensure that the allocation and development of the KAMALO Industrial Layout are conducted in a legal manner.

• Looking into the Policy and Legislative Framework for the preservation of the environment, the government of the Gambia designated TANBI Wetland National Park (TWNP) as a protected area among few other sites in the Gambia. The decision is anchored on several National policies:

A. Banjul Declaration of 1977
B. The Gambia Environment Action Plan (GEAP) 1992
C. The National Biodiversity Action Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP)1999
D. Vision 2020

DECLARATION OF TANBI AS RAMSAR SITE
• The Gambia ratified the Ramsar Convention on wetlands 1996. The Tanbi Wetland National Park (TWNP) was established in 2001and this covers sites encompassing;
--> Banjul
--> Kanifing
--> Brikama

• The wetlands capture incoming water and rainfall, thus playing an important role in the shoreline stabilization and flood control, thereby acting as a hydrological buffer zone/ (Reservoirs or lakes.)

• KAMALO is one of the few elevations within the Tanbi Wetland with a significant potential for the growth of aquatic lives. The marine reptiles living in the water rely on the elevations for their breeding and resting. The forested nature of the site enables it as a habitat of other wild animals and birds, also the migrated species that frequent The Gambia during certain period in a year. Therefore, the transformation of the site to accommodate industrial activity has serious ramification for the wild lives and aquatic creatures.

NO EVIDENCE OF ENVIRONMENT IMPACT ASSESSMENT (EIA)
• The taskforce noted that an EIA process was never initiated by the proponent (the above mentioned department/ their parent ministry) nor completed before lands were allocated and development work started.

• At this point, it will be a guess work to know the full extent of environmental and social impacts to be occasioned by the ongoing development. If an ESIA was done, it would have given such information. However, one can safely say the following are possibilities:
- Increase encroachment and land conversion into the Wetland
- pollution through waste dumping and spilling into the wetlands
- increased mangrove die-back due to human induced activities.
MINISTERS APPROVAL WITHOUT FOLLOWING DUE PROCESS
Section 13 (2) of the State Lands Act, The Planning Authority shall advise whether or not the proposed application conforms with the Approved Plan and established planning standards”.

• Section 14 of the State Land Act further states” The Department shall, if advised that the proposed application conforms with the Approved Plan and established planning standards, submit the application to the Minister for approval”.
• For those seeking industrial land allocations, the application process necessitates the submission of several documents. These include a completed application form, a proposed business plan, proof of funding (typically in the form of a bank statement), the proposed building design, business registration details, and clearance from the Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency (GIEPA).
• During the review exercise, the task force noted that 28 Allottees were issued with allocation letters at Kamalo extension without any evidence of approval minuted in the file.



ALLOCATION WITHOUT EVIDENCE OF MINISTER’S APPROVAL

Section 14 of the State Land Act further states” The Department shall, if advised that the proposed application conforms with the Approved Plan and established planning standards, submit the application to the Minister for approval”.

• The Task Force noted with concern that 6 Allottees were issued with allocation letters without any evidence of Ministerial approval minuted in the file by the Minister contrary to the above section of the State Lands Act. We noted that these Business entities were allocated in some instances more than one plot.

ALLOCATION TO INELIGIBLE APPLICANTS
• During the review, it was noted that some allotees were allocated plots at Kamalo Proper with no evidence of business registration certificate.
• Also, no evidences of the application fee of D50,000 contrary to the dictates of the Act.

ALLOCATION OF MORE THAN ONE PLOT TO AN ALLOTTEE
• It was noted that more than one plot was allocated to certain companies. However, the justifications for allocating more than one plot was not provided for review. For example, there was an instance where applicants whose purpose for applying was for a warehouse were given 2 plots while those who plan to do production were given only one plot casting doubt about the criteria used to determine these allocations.


SUMMARY OF ALLOCATION ANOMALIES
• In summary the Task Force discovered a lot of anomalies in the allocation process of the Kamalo Industrial Layout and these are as follows:

- Minister’s approval without following due process
- Allocation without evidence of minister’s approval
- Allocation to ineligible applicants
- Allocation of more than one plot to an allottee
- Unpresented application files
- Missing documents from applicant’s file
- The lack of evidence of an ESIA




RECOMMENDATION FROM THE TASKFORCE
1. MoLRG should ensure that strategic documents such as the National Land Policy is developed, implemented, and monitored. The document should clearly outline the country’s agenda pertaining to land and the roles and responsibility of all the authorities involve in land administration

2. The Ministry should endeavour to have a proper filling system in place and effort should be made to ensure that the Kamalo file is produced.


3. The decision to make Kamalo an industrial layout should be reconsidered as it could pose serious adverse environmental challenges as most of the investors have projected to build heavy industries on the site.

4. The above can however be validated through a comprehensive environment audit in accordance with regulation 30 of the cited EIA Regulations. It is advisable for the NEA to perform comprehensive General and specific Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) at the Karmalo site to determine any existing or potential damage. These assessments will serve as crucial information for making informed decisions on a broad scale.


5. The TaskForce recommends that the entire allocations at Kamalo Extension to be revoked simply because all the 28 allocations did not follow due process. In addition, there is no development on the site.

6. There was no evidence provided to the committee that Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted either by the Ministry or the allottees before allocations were done. Therefore, the opportunities associated with such an important assessment was lost, due to the Ministry’s failure for not complying with relevant law.

7. The Taskforce recommends that those allocations without evidence of Ministerial approval be revoked.The Department of Lands and Survey under the leadership of the former Director of Lands did not follow the due process by allocating without any evidence of Ministerial approval in the files.

8. In the absence of business registration certificate and receipt of payment application fee the said allottee should not have been considered for allocation as consequence the Committee recommends that their allocation should be revoked. Based on the forgoing, it is evident that the Department of Lands and Survey under the leadership of the former Director of Lands did not properly scrutinize the submission of the applicant before the allocation.


9. The Task Force recommends establishing clear criteria/policy for allocating multiple plots to an individual in the future. These criteria will serve as a transparent and accountable yardstick to determine qualifications and enhance the allocation process to be fair and just. In the absence of a clear criteria, they should forfeit the other plot to the state.

10. In the case of one of the allottees, no ministerial approval was obtained, and the task force was unable to ascertain how he received a photocopied allocation letter. Consequently, the task force recommend that any allocation lacking ministerial approval be deemed invalid and revoked.

11. Additionally, the taskforce further recommends initiating administrative sanctions against a Physical Planning Officer, who presented a photocopy of the allocation letter to the applicant and devise preventive measures for similar incidents in the future.


12. The taskforce recommends that allocation to Painterman be revoked. It further recommends that the Director of Lands should be held liable for recommending the applicant by ignoring the professional advice of a Senior Officer at the Physical Planning and Housing.


13. By submitting personal bank statement instead of a company’s bank statement raises doubts about the liquidity of the company at the time and as such the application did not meet the requirement to be allocated plot, and as a result it should be revoked.

A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone

Momodou



Denmark
11549 Posts

Posted - 09 Jun 2024 :  17:08:47  Show Profile Send Momodou a Private Message  Reply with Quote
HONOURABLE HAMAT N.K. BAH
MINISTER OF LANDS AND REGIONAL GOVERNMENT AND RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS
PRESS BRIEFING
5th June 2024




1. LAND POLICY
Challenges and Importance of Land

• The Gambia is among the least developed countries in the World, ranked 175th out 189 countries according to the UN Human Development Report (2022)

• Recent household poverty survey shows that 54 percent of the population are below the poverty line and poverty is highest in the rural areas

• The Gambia is considered one of the most highly densely populated country in mainland Africa, with a population density of 245.45 people per square kilometers and a total land area of only 11.300 km2.

• It has one of the fastest urbanization rates in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for 58% of the country’s total population

Land as a National Issue
Land is recognised as a vital resource for individual survival and the economic development of the country, explicitly mentioned in the 2023-2027 National Development Plan as a key enabler for economic transformation and development.

Absence of a Holistic Land Policy
Currently, there is no holistic national land policy, and several stakeholders act in a fragmented and uncoordinated manner in land tenure, administration, management, and planning. There is also no national urban policy or land use plan to support planned urban development.

Dual Land Tenure System
The Gambia operates under a dual land tenure system, including customary and formal tenure systems. Customary tenure is predominant in rural areas, while formal tenure, governed by statutory laws, is more common in urban areas. The absence of robust land policy frameworks undermines effective land resource management and governance.

Challenges in Land Management and Governance
The management and governance of land have often been marred by conflicts, inequality, and unsustainable practices leading to environmental degradation and social injustices. The nation faces numerous unresolved land conflicts, a high number of pending land cases in courts, a decline in public trust in land administration, dual land issuance, unauthorised land extensions, and a lack of systematic procedures for recording, retrieving, and tracking land records.

Need for Modernisation
The reliance on a paper-based administrative system has resulted in inefficiencies, impeding effective land application processing. There is a pressing need to modernise and streamline procedures to enhance efficiency and responsiveness. Additionally, the deficiency in cadastral mapping further compounds challenges, as accurate and up-to-date cadastral maps are essential for delineating property boundaries, facilitating land transactions, and ensuring equitable land distribution.

Ministry’s initiatives to address the above challenges includes-
Formulation of an Integrated National Land Policy

Under the leadership of His Excellency President Adama Barrow, the government is committed to land sector reforms. With World Bank support, the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government, and Religious Affairs is formulating the first-ever integrated National Land Policy.

• Beside the people, the greatest natural resource of the country is the land which is finite while there is growing demand for it for several uses. In this direction, the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs has recently received support from the World Bank to formulate the first ever integrated National Land Policy.

• The Policy formulation has begun and currently two consultants (national and international) are already employed to support the process with the Ministry and other national stakeholders. A road map leading to the finalization of the policy is developed with participation of all national stakeholders and all the multispectral technical committees are formed and work has already begun their work.

• The four thematic working groups have commenced producing their inputs as per given guidelines. The Formulation process will be guided by an intensive participatory process involving all stakeholders- ‘leaving nobody behind’ bearing in mind the diversity of land sector actors. The consultation plan has already been prepared which involve central, district, and sectoral levels. Consultation will be done with special groups such as women, youths, people living with disability, private sector, NGOs/CSOs, National Assembly select committee on Land matters.

• The use of the formal and non-formal media will be adopted to get everybody on board on the formulation of the National Land Policy that we all own. Special efforts will be taken to ensure diaspora participation in the policy formulation in order to further enrich the national discuss, views and voices on the Land policy.

The policy formulation involves extensive stakeholder participation and focuses on:
1. Formulating an inclusive and gender-sensitive national land policy.
2. Conducting systematic demarcation and land registration.
3. Establishing a digital land information system.
4. Formulating a National Land Use Plan.

Establish Mechanisms to Standardize Land Management Processes and Procedures at Regional and National Levels.
Of recent, we have realized that the processes and issuance of land documentation procedures vary from region to region and even at national level. In our drive to address such mayhem, we have received support from the UNDP, and will soon embark on the standardization of land management processes and procedures thereby ensuring uniformity and conformity at all levels. It is our conviction that once such mechanisms are adequately put in place, it will help address some of the land challenges confronting us. The general public will be adequately sensitized on such mechanisms which will lay down standard processes and procedures to be adopted by all Alkalolu and Seyfolu at all levels

Capacity Building Initiatives
With World Bank support, the Ministry hired an international consultant to conduct a capacity-needs assessment and develop a capacity-building plan for the land administration sector.
The consultant conducted a thorough examination of the ministry's structure and processes. It assessed the entire structures, from the various departments under the Ministry to municipal and area councils, district chiefs, and the relevant institutions that collaborate with the Ministry, and highlights areas that require attention and resources.

The Capacity Building Plan proposed a comprehensive roadmap designed to develop and enhance the Ministry's capabilities to meet its goals by improving skills and competencies, strengthening its structures and processes, and ensuring sustainable development.

Regulation of real estates
The Ministry is working on regulations aimed at addressing the real estate sector, as the sector is currently largely unregulated. This initiative will sanitise the sector, protect the general public and restore confidence in the sector.

3. GOVERNANCE AND DECENTRALISATION

Policy and Legal Reforms

Pursuant to the Ministry’s vision to be the platform for effective and efficient local governance and service delivery, plans are underway to undertake a comprehensive and inclusive policy review and update of the decentralisation frameworks and local authorities’ institutional policies particularly the Local Government Act 2002 and The Gambia National Policy for Decentralisation and Local Development. Thanks to the meaningful and purposeful support from the United National Development Programme, the Directorate of Local governance and Decentralisation will soon embark on key comprehensive reviews and thorough assessment of decentralisation instruments and capacity needs of local government sectors.

Given that this Act have been amended several times and, in a bid, to streamline the conduct and procedures of Regional Administration and service delivery in consonance with national policies and programmes, there can be no better time now to revisit the Act.

In line with these goals, the Directorate of Governance, with its partners and donors will require a consulting firm to be hired to lead the consultative process across the country with key stakeholders in order to sensitize them but more importantly to obtain their inputs and ensure ownership of the policy instruments.
An inclusive legislative development process will be promoted ensuring the participation of women PWDs, and youth to participate in the revision

Some of the initiatives include-
Capacity Building of Newly Elected Councillors

Capacity building for councillors is essential. We believe that the training programmes will enhance their roles and responsibilities, ensuring effective local governance and harmony between councillors and administrative arms.

Capacity Needs Assessment
A capacity needs assessment will be undertaken to develop a prioritised capacity development plan for the Ministry and local authorities. This will address technical, human, infrastructure, and financial needs.

4. THE NATIONAL BOUNDARY MANAGEMENT COMMISSION

The establishment of the National Boundary Management Commission was necessitated by a protocol signed between The Gambia and Senegal on 21st February 2011 culminating into the creation of the Joint Senegalo-Gambian Boundary Management Commission which comprised of the National Boundary Management Commissions of both countries.

• The National Boundary Management Commission of The Gambia was created under the Ministry of Lands, Regional Government and Religious Affairs in 2013 to engage its Senegalese Counterpart and international partners in helping to find lasting solutions to the protracted land conflicts and border disputes and promote peaceful coexistence amongst border communities.

• During the meeting of the Senegalo-Gambian Border Management Commission held from 25th – 26th July 2023, and the subsequent 3rd Senegalo-Gambian Presidential Council Session held in Banjul from 30th July to 1st August 2023, the two Heads of State issued executive directives for the Joint Border Commission to implement the agreed roadmap and work plans as expressed below:
1. Conduct sensitization campaigns at the affected border communities of both countries including local and regional authorities and different security units;
2. Conduct frequent and regular consultations/meetings of the commission to effectively implement the agreed work plan/roadmap.

A follow up meeting of the Joint Senegalo-Gambian Boundary Management Commission was held on 30 and 31 May 2024 in Dakar Senegal, where both parties reviewed the status of implementation of the agreed conclusions. Of notable significance was the agreement to conduct sensitization activities along the border communities in order to allow farmers and pastoralist to continue to enjoy farming activities along the borders.

Tour of the Borders
• The Gambian Commission has commenced nationwide tour of the borders and just concluded the first phase of the tour which covers selected villages in West Coast (Kartong, Darsilame, Dimbaya, Giboro and Omorto, Bullock, Jekin, Upat and Arrangalene, Kanilai and Tintinba Village) and Lower River Region (Misira, Jarra West and Sandeng Village in Kiang)

KEY INITIATIVES AND PROJECTS UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Strengthening the Decentralised Structure (Nsa-Kenno) Funded by UNICEF and UNDP, this initiative aims to support grassroots governance and capacity building in the URR, LRR, and CRR North. Launched in 2019, it has completed a series of capacity-building activities, including:
• Restructuring and training of VDCs and WDCs, benefiting 386 VDCs and 30 WDCs.
• Promoting women’s participation in community leadership and political platforms.
• Establishing and aligning community child protection committees (CCPCs) in 145 communities.
• Orienting community actors, elders, and leaders on case management for children and the child protection system.

Jobs, Skills and Finance (JSF) Programme for Women and Youth Funded by the EU through UNCDF, this project operates in 32 wards across four LGAs. It provides performance-based climate resilience grants to undertake climate risk vulnerability assessments and implement priority adaptation measures. A total of $2,070,000.00 was disbursed between 2019 and 2023, creating over 4578 temporary jobs for youth and women. The government has contributed over D30,000,000.00 for the continuation of the project.

Programme for Accelerated Community Development (PACD) A Gambia Government initiative to deliver quick dividends to rural communities, particularly hard-to-reach areas. The department, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, focuses on the food security subcomponent. Beneficiary communities have received 38 facilities, including 19 tractors and post-harvest machines.

Appropriate Technology Unit Initiatives
Funded by UNIDO through the Social Development Fund the project focuses on providing low-cost, energy-efficient technologies, including the production of 1600 energy-efficient stoves and training youths in various appropriate technology designs. The unit also supports skill training and building sanitary facilities.

Climate Smart Rural Wash Project (CSRWASH)
Funded by ADB, this project designs community latrines and trains artisans to address open defecation. It coordinated the construction of 40 institutional latrines in schools, health facilities, and other public areas.

Support to Small Ruminant Production Enhancement Project
The department provides capacity-building training on group management and governance for beneficiaries and monitors the operation of facilities.

Gambia Social Safety Net Project
In partnership with NaNA and the Department of Social Welfare, this project provided unconditional cash transfers to 16,966 households in 20 districts. A follow-up project, the Resilience, Inclusion, Skills, and Equity (RISE) Project, is in the preparatory stage.

Cross-Border Initiatives
In partnership with IOM and FAO, the department supports border communities in promoting coexistence and addressing their priorities. Key affected communities include Dasilame, Jiboro Koto, Misira, Tabanding, and Sinchu Barra.
END


A clear conscience fears no accusation - proverb from Sierra Leone
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