Lands Board functions being decentralised

MP wants board decentralised

Source: Post Courier

LANDS and Physical Planning Minister Benny Allan has thrown in his support for the decentralisation of land board functions to provinces.

"This is so that each province can have their own land and physical planning board to plan how they can use their land without waiting for approvals from the National Land Board, in so far as allocation and granting of land titles are concerned," Minister Allan said in a statement yesterday.

Mr Allan who recently returned from a successful swearing in ceremony of the new West Sepik Provincial Land Board, said this is in line with the government’s policy on decentralization of powers.

"The board will complement the government’s policy in terms of helping provinces make decisions on land applications and also to assist them in planning their town and districts.

"With the O’Neill-Dion government’s decentralization of powers down to the provincial level and more money being pumped into provinces, it is obvious that there would be expansion in our provinces and that needs better planning when it comes to land development.

"And the decentralization of Lands and Physical Planning Board in our provinces and districts is so that it caters for the expansion that is as far as land development is concerned," Mr Allan said.

Minister Allan said while he supports such an initiative, he also cautioned all provincial land boards to be transparent and carry out their jobs without prejudice.

He said a long term plan is needed to develop the towns and cities in the country and he appealed to governors, provincial administrators and town mayors to be wary of this when developing land and other investment opportunities.

"We must have a long term plan of our towns and cities. It’s important that provinces and districts have long term plans as to how they can develop their province and districts. If plans are not available, development will be on a ad hoc basis.

The minister said so far provinces that have existing provincial land’s board include East and West New Britain, Milne Bay, Morobe, New Ireland, NCD and the recently established West Sepik Land Board. Those that will follow suit include Madang, East Sepik, Manus and Western Highlands Provinces.

He commended the provinces for taking on the responsibility and ownership of the government policy and asked others to do likewise.