Automated System To Improve Efficiency

The Lands Department has been tagged as corrupt and inefficient and my ambition is to address that, said Minister for Lands and Physical Planning, John Rosso in Parliament yesterday.

When presenting to Parliament the Ministerial statement, Minister Rosso stated that with this in mind for the past two years, he has directed the Lands Secretary to review some of the ways it did business.

He said the department has gone into a transformation and is changing its structure and business processes for land dealings to achieve these outcomes.

“The department has commenced working on the automation of all its business processes and the land information to have all records scanned and digitized into a computerized information system.

“This is a work in progress and once completed, it shall make the Lands Department more efficient in effectively delivering land services throughout PNG and the days of manual files, missing files and fraudulent titles will be a thing of the past,” said Minister Rosso.

He said the department has entered into an agreement with Niupay Limited to build and recreate the current system after the Office of the Solicitor General gave clearance and approval.

Niupay has now built a new system for the department called elands, which Prime Minister, James Marape launched in August 2020. The National Executive Council’s Decision No. 171/2021 in its Special Meeting No. 12 has approved the engagement.

“Most rentals and leases are now paid online and very soon all other land related fees will be paid also online once the Finance Department implements part of that NEC Decision by ceasing the collection of all land related fees including land rentals through IFMS or PGAS systems.”

Once completed, Lands Department forecasts an approximate revenue generation per annum of KIOO million.

“Let me point out that we at Lands do not want to usurp the Finance Department's mandate to collect public monies but we as a department need to reconcile all payments against our records before remitting them into the consolidated revenue account within 24 hours,” says Minister Rosso.

Currently the department faces huge difficulties in trying to reconcile records and payments made through finance offices.

Therefore, he said the land and payments records are in disarray, as many leaseholders are not meeting their lease rental obligations thus depriving government of much needed revenue.

“This system is a game changer in rectifying the way the lands does business making more efficient and transparent. It is the most successful eGovernment platform ever developed and deployed in PNG,” said Minister Rosso.

He said eLands payment options continue to be developed and now accepts payment methods using any cards that display the Visa, Master Card or Union Pay logos. Local cards such as Kina Bank card and MiBank card as well as Bank transfer with general response by elands users has been favourable, with users appreciating the foresight and efforts of the department to deliver an online system.

“You only need a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop personal computer and an internet connection to use this system, which is currently at your fingertips 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

In addition, certain land processes including forfeiture, land allocation and title registration have already commenced using the system and this will improve record keeping and transparency and eradicate fraud in the department.

“The vision of the department is for the country to have an electronic titles system in two to three years from now.”

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