House Concurs on Land Authority Law

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The Legislature has finally enacted the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) Law after it was submitted by President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to both Houses, and was received and subsequently referred in Committees’ room almost a year ago on Tuesday, September 22, 2015.

The House of Representatives unanimously concurred with the Liberian Senate during yesterday’s extraordinary session, and have ordered the Offices of the Chief Clerk to forward the Bill to the Chief Executive for approval and subsequent printing into handbills.

The Secretary of the Senate and the President Pro Tempore affixed their signatures for the Liberian Senate, while the Acting Chief Clerk and Deputy Speaker/Presiding Officer have signed for the House of Representatives

The enactment of the law establishes the Liberia Land Authority (LLA), an autonomous agency of government solely devoted to land matters.

Accordingly, the LLA should oversee the implementation of existing land legislations such as the Act Against the Criminal Conveyance of Land and the proposed Land Rights Act.

The law will also give LLA the authority to take over land functions previously carried out by the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy (MLME), a function that will change the MLME to the Ministry of Mines and Energy.

The House’s Chairman on Lands, Mines, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment, Montserrado County District # 11 Representative Gabriel Nyenkan, said the concurrence would mark a cardinal step towards preparation for the sustainable management of all lands in Liberia, including the resolution of the perennial problems of land disputes.

Rep. Nyenkan told the Daily Observer that this one-stop agency for all land issues will oversee programs in land governance, including land administration, use and management and land policy review and planning.

He noted that the benefits of establishing the LLA as enshrined in the Act exceed any concern about the external financial cost to the government of Liberia, adding that Fiscal Impact Analysis for the establishment of this new agency has determined that there already exists starting resources for manpower development and operations.

It may be recalled that in the President’s communication to President Pro Tempore Armah Jallah, dated September 15 last year, she said the bill puts into place the necessary legal framework for the establishment of the Liberia Land Authority that would undertake actions and implement programs in support of land governance, including land administration and management.

“Mr. President Pro Tempore, in the midst of significant progress made by the Land Commission in proposing reforms of land policies and of land laws, fragmented government authority over land continues to cause difficulties, thus posing challenges to land reform implementations,” she wrote.

President Sirleaf informed the lawmakers that when passed into law, the bill would ensure that the state, through the land authority, controls and manages effectively, impartially and in the interest of equitable development, access to deeds of public and government lands.

“Mr. President Pro Tempore, the bill is a significant milestone in the land governance process. At the creation of the Liberia Land Authority, the responsibility for land matters is to be removed from the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy; Ministry of Internal Affairs; Ministry of
Public Works; the Center for National Documents and Records Agency; and other agencies of government as appropriate, and transferred to the Liberia Land Authority,” she noted.

President Sirleaf concluded by requesting the Senators to see the importance of the bill and asked for its timely enactment into law.

Meanwhile, the passage of the Land Authority Law is among several landmark bills which the Governance Commission had urged the Legislature to act on.

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