Allen outlines main challenges of lands department

The main challenge for the Department for Lands and Physical Planning has been on the particular issue of corruption.

Former minister for Lands and Physical Planning now current minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Benny Allen stated this yesterday upon handing over the portfolio to the new incumbent minister, Justin Tkatchenko.

In his outgoing address to the staff and the new minister, Allen stated that neither the lands department nor the officers are corrupt.

The lands department under took three priority projects which includes land access, the legislative review and the LEAP program which were undertaken in the last three years.

Allen also mentioned a number of challenges which the new minister will have to look at during his term in the department some of which included customary land titles, Land Act review.

He added that the challenge is the revenue collection of which he believes the department did an excellent job back in 2014 and 2015 where a door to door collection was made.

“There are lot of clients still out there who have not paid up their land taxes so there is still a need to raise more revenue. That is also the quickest in collecting revenue for the government.”

Allen said another problem that he feels the department should look into is to house the officers and workers adding that most of the officers are residing in settlements.

He adds that it has been noticed that sometimes when officers put their applications through to land board to apply for land, the land board turns them down stating that there is a conflict of interest resulting in their application being rejected.

He urged the Minister to Tkatchenko to look into the housing initiative for the workers and push and deliver the project for the department’s staff.

Annette Kora