The Greater Accra Regional Minister, Henry Quartey, has announced that structures sited at Ramsar sites will no longer be demolished as institutions mandated by law makes efforts to regularise their occupancy.
The minister, who made the announcement during a stakeholder engagement with some residents in and around the Ramsar sites at Community 18 in Tema, Accra on Sunday said it was imperative for a conclusive roadmap for permits to be granted for occupants following earlier deliberations with some stakeholders from Tema and Nungua last month.
The meeting among other things was also aimed at discussing the danger posed by their occupancy on the Ramsar sites, as most of the structures were illegally sited on waterways.
He said, “I want to assure you as I said earlier that between now and when we bring the curtains down, no buildings will be demolished whatsoever. We realised that in the last twenty years about four to 5,000 structures have been sited and because they do not have the required permits they do not pay property rate as expected, so we believe we should have a discussion with the Lands Commission for them to regularise their stay because they have already put up their houses there.”
According to the minister, though further meetings would be held between residents in the area and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in the coming weeks for a concrete roadmap, no further demolishing will be embarked upon as the government considers the plight of residents in the area.
He, however, asked the chiefs, institutions and individuals who have in the past sold any portion of the government acquired land to desist from further giving the area to anybody forthwith, as discussions continue for a development scheme for the area.
“About 290 buildings in total are already in the area, nobody should encroach further. They are not to work at the sites as an official from the Forestry and Lands Commission would be visiting the area to work there. Further decisions will be taken in the coming days for the scheme and roadmap for the area,” he said.
The meeting brought together various associations in the area such as REGSEC, MP for Tema West, Mayor for Tema, officials from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, MCE for Tema West, the Paramount Chief of Nungua Traditional Area and other stakeholders.
By Ebenezer K. Amponsah