Land Administration PDF Print E-mail

Sierra Leone has a pluralistic land tenure administration system – the traditional (customary), and the English system in the Western Area of Sierra Leone. This two-tier system has failed to guarantee security of tenure of land and also restricted access to land both in the Western Area and in the provinces. Consequently, the consensus among Sierra Leoneans is that there is urgent need for land reform.

In 2008, the Ministry of Lands, Country Planning and Environment and other government agencies collaborated with Sierra Leone Business Forum and the private sector to organize a workshop on “improving the land use system in Sierra Leone”. An outcome of that workshop was the formation of a land legislation review committee. This Working Group did a comparative study of models of land administration in other countries. It also identified deficiencies in the existing dual system of land tenure and administration. Among the problems identified so far was Section 3 of the Provinces Land Act, Cap 122 of the laws of Sierra Leone, which considerably restricts the rights of a non-native to own land in the Provinces. In addition, there is virtually no security of tenure for provincial lands for both inhabitants and strangers. “Title to Provincial lands is not always certain and is most often disputed”. Land that is held by the State for the benefit of the Sierra Leone community is poorly documented. The report said that in the Western Area encroachment by squatters, and professional land grabbers was rampant. “Much time is taken up by the courts in resolving land disputes, leading to delays in other parts of the judicial system”.

The Working Group has recommended that steps be taken soonest to amend Section 3 of the Provinces Land Act and Act No 30 of 1966. It has also recommended that penalties be imposed for breach of this provision in the Surveys Lands Act. Cap 128 of the Laws of Sierra Leone which need to be revised and made more severe to deter further breaches thereof.

Quite recently, the Working Group has been following-up on the digitalization of the Land Surveys Department Project of the Lands Ministry that is being funded by the International Climate Facility.


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