Debates of 20 Nov 2013

PRAYERS 10:20 a.m.


Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Members, Cor- rection of the Votes and Proceedings of Tuesday, 19th November, 2013.
Mr Moses Anim 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, my name is Hon Moses Anim, Member of Parliament for Trobu. I was here yesterday and I have been marked absent.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Very well.
Page 8 --
Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I also know for a fact that the Hon K. T. Hammond and Hon Ofosu Asamoah were here yesterday and it does appear -- [Interruption.] Mr Speaker, I saw —
Some Hon Members 10:20 a.m.
No! No!
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
—What is the “no” for? I saw the Hon Ofosu Asa- moah here. [Interruption.] So, are you decoupling?
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Was he in the Chamber?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, he was; Hon Ofosu Asamoah was in the Chamber. [Interruption.]
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Members, order! Let us have order in the House.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak-
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Excuse me, the —
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, I came with him; we entered the Chamber together. Thereafter, I saw —
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Number 14 and which one?
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, number 14. Number 12; I saw him after the Sitting. I cannot attest that I saw him in the Chamber. But immediately after, he was outside, so, I presumed that he was inside.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
That is a presumption.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, that indeed, is my presumption.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Yes, so, as for the 14 —
Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Men- sah 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, Hon Patricia Appiagyei and Hon Gyan-Baffour were all here.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
I saw Hon Gyan-Baffour yesterday in the Chamber.
Mr Darko-Mensah 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, but they have been marked absent with permission.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Very well--
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, I know that the Votes and Proceedings also reflect, quite apart from capturing what business was transacted in the House, they also reflect the chronology of events.
My Speaker, the item captured as num- ber 6: “The following Paper was presented by the Hon Minister for Finance, Mr Seth Terkpeh, the Annual Report on Petroleum Funds, 2013”. It came after the Budget
presentation and that became a subject of contention. They came after; let it not appear as if the proper thing was done.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Hon Members, I think that yes, it is true that I indicated that we would treat as varying of the order of Business. That was what I said. I agree entirely with you. But it is equally true that the Table Office arranged it in the consistence with the Standing Orders. But I agree that yes, it came after. I think they are arranging it in line with the Standing Orders in terms of Order of Business even though it came after. If time were attached to it, the Hansard would capture the ap- propriate time when it was done. So, if you read this together with the Hansard, it would tell you when that was done.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, I would want to take it like that but as you said, I thought that —
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
I agree that it was laid after the —
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, yes, it was laid.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
But if you look under Standing Order 53 or 54 or so, dealing with Order of Business, Presentation of Papers normally comes before. So, that informed the Table Office to do it that way. But I agree that it is true that it came after the Budget Statement was presented to the House.
Page 9 --
Mr Ebo Barton-Odro 10:20 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I am sorry to take you back.
At page 6, item number 28. I have been marked absent but I was here yesterday.
Yes, page 6, item 28.
Mr Speaker 10:20 a.m.
Page 6? There is no item 28 at page 6.
Mr Kwaku Agyemang-Manu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I did not see him.

Hon Members, the Votes and Proceed- ings of Tuesday, 19th November, 2013, as corrected are hereby adopted as the true record of proceedings.

Hon Members, we do not have any Official Report for correction, so, we move on to item --
Dr Benjamin B. Kunbuor 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speaker, I would like to crave your indul- gence, so that we can alter the Business slightly by going to item 4 before we come back to item 3.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
You want us to present the Papers before we make the Statement?
Dr Kunbuor 10:30 a.m.
That is so, Mr Speaker. This is because of some commitment I have in the office.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Minority Leader, the rules of the House allow us to vary the order of Business.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, so, is the Majority Leader making the application?
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Yes, that is the ap- plication he has made and that is why I called you.
Dr Kunbuor 10:30 a.m.
Order 33 -- that is by craving Mr Speaker's indulgence, is the application. Under normal circumstances, we do not crave his indulgence except we want him to do something out of the

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu 10:30 a.m.
Mr Speak- er, I have no problem with that.
PAPERS 10:30 a.m.

Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Item 5 -- Hon Major- ity Leader, are we taking item 5 before we move to Statements? It is the First Reading of the Trademarks (Amendment) Bill, 2013. Are we taking it or we defer it?
Dr Kunbuor 10:30 a.m.
Yes, let us defer the two items because I have not applied.
Mr Speaker 10:30 a.m.
Very well.
Hon Members, we go back to item 3 -- Statements.
Hon Members, I have admitted one Statement for today, standing in the name of Hon Albert Abongo, Chairman of the Select Committee on Lands and Forestry.
  • STATEMENTS 10:40 a.m.

    Mr Albert Abongo (NDC -- Bongo) 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for admitting my Statement on effective land administration in Ghana.
    Mr Albert Abongo (NDC -- Bongo) 10:40 a.m.

    On the basis of section 33 (c) of the Lands Commission Act, 2008, (Act 767), I wish to invite you all to support me in recommending that approval be granted the Lands Commission to retain 40 per cent of moneys received as levies, charges or fees in addition to 6 per cent of revenue generated and collected from Stamp Duty assessment.

    The proposal for the Commission to retain 40 per cent of internally generated funds from fees and charges as would as 6 per cent of Stamp Duty revenue would ensure that the Commission is financially equipped to sustainably deliver effective land administration services in the country.

    “To whom much is given much is required” It is only when the financial bailout is provided that Ghanaians can morally demand effective land administra- tion services from the Lands Commission.

    I thank you for the opportunity.
    Mr Benito Owusu-Bio (NPP -- Atwi- ma-Nwabiagya North) 10:40 a.m.
    Thank you Mr Speaker, for allowing me to contribute to the Statement on the floor on “Effective Land Administration in Ghana -- A case for the Lands Commission.”
    Mr Speaker, in 2008 to be precise, 29th October, 2008, this same issue was discussed and debated when we were passing the Lands Commission Bill into an Act. I quite remember at that time, the issue on the floor was that we should just leave it as it is and then later on, the Hon Minister for Finance should come with an L. I. to amend the Act 735 -- the Fees Act, so that at least, that issue of the retention
    would be left to the discretion of the Hon Minister for Finance.
    Mr Speaker, today, five years later, we are here discussing this same issue. Mr Speaker, as we speak now, our own peers, our country peers whom we started the Land Administration Project with, countries like Uganda, have left us behind. Quite recently, your Committee visited Uganda and Mr Speaker, what we saw there, I would say that we felt too bad and ashamed because, how could we start something with a peer country and just within five years, they have moved past way beyond what we are doing here.
    Mr Speaker, in Uganda, it takes them three days -- and I would emphasise on this fact -- three days if there is no objection to a land title being registered -- then within three days, the person ap- plying receives a Land Title Certificate. They had this same problem just as us. Five years ago, they were where we are now, but with effective management, effective administration, the Government paying particular attention to what they were doing, resourcing them, now, they are far ahead.
    Mr Speaker, Uganda has already passed its Lands Act, including its Regulation. I remember four years ago, I was invited as a Committee member to attend a workshop in Koforidua to discuss the Lands Bill. Mr Speaker, I am still an Hon Member of this Committee, if you ask me today whether we have gone anywhere with this Lands Bill, I would tell you “No, it is still on the drawing board”.
    Aside that, Uganda has set up de- centralised zonal offices. Mr Speaker, they have zoned the country into six and depending on where you are, you the ap- plicant can go to any of these zonal offices
    to access any land information that you want. They have digitized 40 per cent of their maps including their auto photos. At the same time, currently, their banks and financial institutions, legal practitioners, their courts are all accessing information from their Land Commission --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:40 a.m.
    Hon Member, can you hold your breath? I have just seen the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources enter, so, I direct that he be given a copy of the Statement, so that at the appropriate time, we can get him to also contribute.
    Go ahead.
    Mr Owusu-Bio 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, their financial institutions, legal practitioners, their courts, are all accessing this same information. Mr Speaker, in Uganda, I was told it is impossible for somebody to dubiously apply for a loan from different sources with one title certificate. But Mr Speaker, in Ghana, it is being done by crooks every day. This has reduced a lot of the various land disputes. They do not have land guards in Uganda. We are faced and challenged with the menace of land guards.
    Within two years that they started rolling out this land information system, over 500,000 titles have been given out. Let us ask ourselves, in Ghana, with all the properties that we have, do we even have five or ten per cent of them having title certificates? No! They have also done 16,500 maps and this covers the entire ur- ban areas that they have. Base maps also covering 30,000 square kilometres have been done. In terms of title certificate, it
    is instant.
    Mr Speaker, what are we asking for? We are asking for funding for the Lands Commission.
    Mr Speaker, we know that internally generated funds retention usually has to come from the Ministry of Finance. But Mr Speaker, it was not for nothing that we put in the Bill, a proportion approved by Parliament of moneys received by the Commission as levies, charges or fees under this Act and any other enactment for services rendered by the Commission. Parliament has a role to play in this; we have given ourselves this responsibility.
    Mr Speaker, I pray that this particular Statement does not end up becoming just like one of the other Statements that are always made in this House. But rather, this House takes a critical look and even the House comes up with a recommendation to the Executive; because Mr Speaker, if we just consider it as such ,then we would not be helping.
    Mr Speaker, it is on record that an im- proved lands administration system would lead to an efficient and effective land governance and delivery system. This would also generate enough revenue for the country. India recently also did theirs and Mr Speaker; this has led to four times the revenue that they previously used to generate. Our Lands Commission can also do the same if given the chance. The World Bank would help you to crawl-- they would help you to crawl, they would not help you to walk. As to helping our- selves to walk, it is up to us.
    And with these few words, I would end and thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Emmanuel K. Bedzrah (NDC --
    Mr Owusu-Bio 10:50 a.m.

    Ho West): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the Statement made by the Chairman of the Select Committee on Lands and Forestry on effective land administration in Ghana; a case study for the Lands Commission.

    Mr Speaker, we all know that land is an asset in this country and that asset can give you income if you have title to it. Since 2008, this House has passed a law for the Lands Commission. One of the services the Lands Commission is supposed to ren- der is to secure ownership for landowners in this country. Unfortunately Mr Speaker, we all know that there are so many multi- ple registrations of lands in this country, by the same people who have been entrusted the registration of lands into their hands. This, we all know, result in deaths, where we have land guards; we have people who contract security services to watch over their lands for them.

    Mr Speaker, if our laws are really work- ing, I believe this multiple registration of lands or titles would not happen. If our brothers from Uganda are practising and they have gone far in registration of lands and giving titles to people and it is working there, I do not see why it cannot work in Ghana. There is something fundamental- ly wrong; and I would want to thank the maker of the Statement, -- that the Lands Commission needs support, and if this House can give them that support, then I believe they would do the right thing.

    In addition to all these, Mr Speaker, there is no human settlement policy in this country and land administration must have human settlements.

    You have people settling in all kinds of places and after 20, 30 years, they become owners of the land and they are demand- ing and looking for title to that land. I would want to add to it that in addition to this Parliament supporting the Lands Commission, we must also demand that

    there must be a human settlement policy for this country.

    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah (NPP -- Se- kondi) 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to make a few comments on this Statement.
    Mr Speaker, in terms of lands and its administration, I believe when it comes to public lands, we do not seem to have too many problems; what we term “State lands”. It is when we come to what may be described as “stool lands” that we have so many problems. And we have an Ad- ministrator of Stool Lands. When our Hon Colleague made the Statement on Land Commission, I suppose that it includes Stool Lands Administration.
    But Mr Speaker, as regards adminis- trat-ion of lands and registration et cetera, I believe it is important that the Metropo- litan, Municipal and District Assemblies also play their role. The Hon Member for Ho West, Mr Bedzrah talked about human settlement policy; that is supposed to be done at the district level. But Mr Speaker, when it comes to --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 10:50 a.m.
    Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Mr Owusu-Bio 10:50 a.m.
    Yes Mr Speaker; just information.
    The Hon Member, my senior on the floor made reference to the fact that the Lands Commission includes the Stool Lands Administrator. In fact, they are two separate entities, except that if he is asking for support for both of them, then we concur.
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 10:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point I made was that, we seem to be having more problems with stool lands rather than State lands and that in the case
    of stool lands, we have Administrator of Stool Lands who manages these stool lands according to the Constitution on behalf of Stools.
    As I was saying, Mr Speaker, we have a lot of laws, a lot of Regulations. I believe as regards the Lands Commission, what we need to do is to enforce the laws and try and punish those who corrupt the system. People talk about title certificates; there are human beings who knowingly, aware that people do not deserve to have title certificates, give title certificate to people. What we need in this country is not more laws and more regulations, but rather most importantly, to enforce existing laws and regulations.
    We know the corruption at the Lands Administration. Why is it that we have land guards? We have land guards because people lay claim to lands that they do not even own and so, people have resorted to self-help. If people know that lands do not belong to others, they have to enforce the law.
    So, Mr Speaker, while I agree with the Hon Colleague who made the Statement about support for the Lands Commission, I believe there is more that we have to do. And I propose that if we really want this House to take decisions which may not be controversial, then if this had come in the form of Motion, it may have helped. This is because when you bring a Motion and the House takes a decision on it, it becomes something which the Executive must comply with.
    When we talk about retention of reve- nue, that is the business of the Executive; and the Lands Commission is part of the Executive. If we feel strongly about some of these things, my appeal to Hon Colleagues is that, let us come by way of Motion; let the Motion be put to a vote; it becomes a decision of the House and then we can take action.
    That is not to say that comments made on the floor cannot influence a Minister. But the Minister is also responsible for government policy. He may hold a view; if his colleagues do not agree with him, he cannot implement it. But if this House takes a decision, government becomes answerable to the House. And I believe that going forward, we should adopt this particular method in cases like this.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Ameen Salifu (NDC -- Wa East) 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to support the State- ment ably made by my Hon Colleague on “Effective Land Administration in Ghana -- A case for the Land Commission.” It is very important that he made this Statement to this House.
    However, there are certain areas that need to be streamlined, which we are still looking for the missing-link with Land Commission, which goes to affect the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). The Hon Mem- ber for Sekondi made mention of the MMDAs. They need to be sensitised on this particular issue. As a former District Chief Executive (DCE) -- [Interruption.] -- of Funsi, Wa East. As a former DCE, I realised that there was a missing area that has led to a lot of disputes in land admin- istration in various areas. This was a rural area, how much more the urban areas?
    So, I would urge the Ministry -- Lands Commission for that matter, which we have mandated to carry out this adminis- trative issue, to organise workshops that would make sure that, at least, MMDAs know exactly what to do as far as land title registrations are concerned. If not, that particular area is missing big time and that is affecting seriously our development.
    We cannot disregard any development
    Mr Ameen Salifu (NDC -- Wa East) 11 a.m.

    as far as land is concerned. Land is a major requisite for development and as a result, I think this is an area we need to strengthen. We can strengthen it if we get the MMDAs to get to know that this is very important. This is because at the end of the day, even most of the District Administrations -- where we are -- do not even have Land Title Registration, how much more acquiring land for our CHPS compounds, schools and the rest.

    I can bet you, very soon, in the rural areas, stool lands, community lands would want to know where they have demarcated for District Administrations.
    Mr Kwabena O. Darko-Mensah (NPP -- Takoradi) 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to the Statement ably made by the Hon Member for Bongo.
    Mr Speaker, I believe that the issues he has raised are very pertinent and they are very important for the development of this country.
    Mr Speaker, I do believe that one of the major issues confronting financing and support over the years for the Lands Com- mission, has been the issue of their own management style and their ability to do the work to the best of public appreciation.
    Mr Speaker, one comes to realise that there are a lot of problems with land ad- ministration in this country, in terms of multi-registration and multi-zoning by their own survey department, and in terms of multiple different groups of people in this country.
    Mr Speaker, I do believe that one of the critical issues we need to understand is that, land is very key to the development of any nation. Insofar as all the things we
    have said are not working at the centre, I believe that it has to do with the same way we have looked at our own governance.
    There are things that were not working at the centre. We should find a way to decentralise them such that they can work at the level of where the people usually operate. Mr Speaker, why am I saying so?
    Today, one goes to a lot of banks and every time one goes there, one realises that the valuations that have been pre- sented to the banks, to raise money seem always to be different from the valuation that have been done at the Assembly for property rate.
    Mr Speaker, I do believe that it is time we looked at this situation and ensured that even our banking laws would, as part of collateral that are being presented, take the documents that have been approved at the Assembly level, such that the amount of money that the person would raise, will be equivalent to what that person is using at the Assembly level to take building permit, so that people will be fair with the values that they usually present to the As- sembly and make sure that the Assembly can also raise a lot of money.
    This is because there have been in- stances where valuers will come to one's house and tell them to give them money, so that they could reduce the value on one's building. I feel that this is making the Assembly poorer. Mr Speaker, I be- lieve that, that is one way that we have to look at it.
    I was just speaking to one of my Hon Colleagues and one issue that was clear is that, land is money and if one can transact cash business so quickly --within two days, somebody buys something and transfer the cash -- the same way we should look at land because land is also money. If the efficiency at the Land Administration is not that good, it means that, the changing or the movement of money, in terms of land, would also be
    slower. That does not also augur well for the development of our country.
    This is because people need the land to be transferred quickly in their names, so that they can develop and make this country benefit from those developments.
    Thank you, Mr Speaker, for allowing me to add my voice to the Statement.
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim (NDC -- Ban- da) 11 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for the opportunity given me to contribute to the Statement.
    Mr Speaker, this is one of the most serious Statements that has raised serious concerns in the country. As has been rightly delivered by the Hon Chairman of the Committee on Lands and Forestry, I think it is an issue that we have to make sure that all the concerns that have been raised must be noted seriously. I think the Hon Minister is here listening to us.
    The Hon Member for Sekondi made a suggestion that it should have come by Motion and from the Government. But Mr Speaker, as we all know, the Hon Member who delivered the Statement is the Chairman for the Committee on Lands and Forestry and he is doing this based on our parliamentary practice and procedure, especially by Standing Order 72 which states that -- Mr Speaker, with your kind indulgence, I beg to read:
    “By the indulgence of the House and leave of Mr. Speaker a Member may, at the time appointed for statements under Order 53 (Order of Business) explain a matter of personal nature or make a statement on a matter of urgent public importance…”
    I think that is exactly what the Hon Chairman for the Committee on Lands and Forestry is performing.
    Mr Speaker, what I would want to add to this is that, all the concerns that have been raised clearly suggest this is an issue of urgent public importance. If you listen to the airwaves, Mr Speaker, the way lands have been sold out, lands have been auctioned on the airwaves -- bring this and get that, bring that and get this -- Mr Speaker, we have got to a stage where serious notice or serious look has to be taken at lands administration. So, if the Hon Member has raised it, the Hon Minister is here. The concerns raised by Hon Benito are serious issues that have touched on the hearts of most of the Hon Members here. I believe, Mr Speaker --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11 a.m.
    Yes, Hon Member, are you up on a point of order?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he said the point made by Hon Benito. He is an Hon Member of the House. We do not call him Hon Benito here. This is against our Standing Orders, and as he is part of the Leadership, he should make the proper reference. So, invite him to properly ac- knowledge the Hon Member.
    Mr A. Ibrahim 11 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the point made by my Hon Friend on the other side, is a serious issue that we have to take into consideration.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I conclude my contribution to the Statement and all the concerns may be directed to the Hon Minister for urgent consideration.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr Francis Manu-Adabor (NPP -- Ahafo Ano South East) 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Statement on floor.
    As a Land Surveyor, I have worked with the Survey Department for many years -- [Hear! Hear!] -- and I realise
    Mr Francis Manu-Adabor (NPP -- Ahafo Ano South East) 11:10 a.m.

    if we would want to hit the nail on the head, then we would need to resource the Survey and Mapping Division (SMD) of the Lands Commission for them to deliver the goods.

    Mr Speaker, all the land sector agencies depend on the Survey Department for their data. They need the base maps, the cadastral plans, and the parcel plans before they can work -- [Hear! Hear1] -- But these things are not coming because the Survey Department, which is the SMD, is seriously under-resourced.

    Mr Speaker, we always talk about land guards. The land guards will continue to be with us, so long as the chiefs do not know the boundaries to their lands. If you conduct a study of where these land guards operate, they mostly operate at the boundaries between chiefs. This is because, when a chief is enstooled, all he knows is that, the boundary is from that old Onyina tree to the old river, which does not exist, but when they get to know the true boundary, then there would be no need for land guards.

    Mr Speaker, when you visit the District Assemblies in the country, they have Town and Country Planning staff working with them, but they do not have land surveyors. The Town and Country Planning staff require maps before they can work. They need base maps before they can plan. At the district level, development is ahead of planning. When you visit several towns, the old part of the town is even more beautiful than the newly developed part; because we do not have base maps. Con- sidering the plans that we need, we need to resource the Survey Department.

    Now, if you go to the Survey Depart- ment in Accra, they produce the parcel plans and the cadastral plans for the land title registration, but they do not have money. So, when the client goes there, he is supposed to buy fuel or to hire a vehicle to take them to the field. Mr Speaker, this is a way of promoting corruption. So, if we

    resource the Lands Commission, such that the Survey and Mapping Division could also be resourced, then we can make a lot of revenue.

    Mr Speaker, the Survey and Mapping Division -- when my senior Colleague talked about Uganda using three days to get their land title -- most of the delays are as a result of cadastral plans being produced, because they do not have the instrument, or nothing to produce the maps. If you go to the digital office of the Survey Department now, they have only one computer working; and that computer is supposed to produce all the digital plans for certification in Accra.

    So, I would want to add my voice to the Statement on floor. If we resource the Lands Commission, I believe we would get a lot of revenue to support the Gov- ernment.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Can we hear from the Hon Minister for Lands and Natural Resources?
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    I will come back to you. Do not worry.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    I would want to assure Hon Members that, this is an interesting Statement and therefore, we would allow as many contributions as possible. But let us hear first from the Hon Minister.
    Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Hon Member who made the Statement and Hon Members of Parliament who have contributed so far to
    this very important Statement.
    Mr Alexander K. Afenyo-Markins 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, you made a statement, and with respect; I wanted to seek clarification about that statement. You said this is an important Statement and you would want to encourage as many contributions as possible. That is the clarification I wanted to seek, comparing that to the VAT Bill that --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:10 a.m.
    Hon Member, you are out of order. [Laughter.]
    Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini 11:10 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I was craving your indulgence to permit me to recognise the Hon Member who spoke before me, as the first geodetic surveyor in the Parliament of Ghana. [Hear! Hear!] Indeed, I have had numerous encounters with him and I have no doubt in my mind that he clearly appreciates the issues that are before us this morning.
    Mr Speaker, it has been said in this House and there is no doubt about it that, land insecurity need - the securitization of land in Ghana can help catalyse the devel- opment of this country. Mr Speaker, this is because whatever investment activities are going to take place in the country, take place on land; be it investing in industries, agriculture or residential purposes.
    But Mr Speaker, why do we have the difficulty that we face presently? It is because of the difficult land tenure sys- tem that we have. Mr Speaker, Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah has alluded to it; the only geodetic engineer in this Parliament has also alluded to it.
    Mr Speaker, the traditional authorities are always running ahead of time and ahead of the institutions of State that have the responsibility to plan. Mr Speaker, I would give you one clear example.
    Ayi-Mensah -- if you are descending from Aburi, you would find Ayi-Mensah is a vast arable land capable of supporting agriculture.
    Mr Speaker, what do we see? Presently, if you go to Ayi-Mensah, you would see concrete buildings springing up on prime land that has the potential to feed the whole of Accra.
    If you go to The Netherlands, Mr Speaker, right in the middle of town, right in the middle of Amsterdam, there are farming activities going on there. It requires planning, and which could only occur if we are able to resource the insti- tutions of State that have the mandate to plan for us.
    Mr Speaker, that is why we must sup-
    port the call for the Lands Commission to retain forty per cent of the internally generated funds. I beg to state that is also in tandem with Government's policy to wean off State institutions that are capa- ble of supporting themselves. The Lands Commission, if properly resourced, can generate enough resources to wean them- selves off Government's subvention and also look for innovative ways to generate more revenue. So, Mr Speaker, we must--
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:10 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Minister is talking about what we have to do, but he is the
    Papa Owusu-Ankomah 11:10 a.m.

    one person in this country on behalf of the President who can do it. So, should we assume that he is giving us an assurance that he is going to get these things done?
    Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the question asked by Hon Papa Owusu- Ankomah is very germane to the discus- sion this morning. It raises the national interest a notch higher, that we would be able to do that if we are properly resourced. This is why we are building consensus. We are asking that we build consensus to allow the Lands Commission to retain some money. And I agree entirely with him, that one could come by way of a Motion.
    Mr Speaker, the exercise this morning is to enable us build consensus on the way forward, and the way forward is to allow the Lands Commission to retain part of the internally generated funds and be accountable for it, so that they can invest them in critical institutions and places to to provide effective services to the people of this country.
    Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you for the opportunity.

    Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover (NPP -- Tema East): Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement made by my senior Colleague, Hon Albert Abongo, Chairman of the Select Commit- tee on Lands and Forestry on Effective Land Administration in Ghana -- A case study for the Lands Commission.

    Mr Speaker, I come from a constitu- ency where 50 per cent to 60 per cent of our land was taken under the compulsory acquisition in 1952. And as we speak today, under the Ports Act and the TDC

    Act, majority of all these lands have been used for industrial purposes, for housing schemes and what have you. What is left is for the Tema Stool Lands -- and I am talking about villages around Adegono, Sasabi and Tibakulo that falls within the Kpone Katamanso District Assembly area.

    Mr Speaker, it is so painful; as we try to seek support for the Lands Commission, the Stool Lands Administration and the Land Title Registry cannot be let off the hook. These are all triangles that will need the State to support them to make sure that the work goes on. Mr Speaker, we cannot complain about asking for support for the Lands Commission without looking at certain fictitious activities in that office. I am speaking with experience and Mr Speaker, I will crave your indulgence that we look at this angle.

    I have personally complained to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources about what is happening. When you go to Adegono, Sasabi and Tibakulo, Mr Speaker, judgment that has been given on 29th July, 2011 about land in the hands of Sasabi Stool have forcibly been taken away from them. Are we to respect the courts of this land? You will agree with me as a lawyer, that we need to respect the decisions of our courts. The people are bending rules and coming up with fictitious documents to take other people's lands.

    The issue about boundary goes as far back as 1887 under Justice Maclean of the Gold Coast -- Mr Speaker, between Nii Adjei Kraku of Tema, Tema Mantse at the time and Nii Totobi Kpone, judgement has been given. What is important is for the Lands Commission to make sure we create the boundaries within these two traditional areas. As we speak, now, Mr Speaker, with the creation of the --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    Hon Member, I hope you are not dragging us into land litigation --
    Mr Titus-Glover 11:20 a.m.
    No, Mr Speaker. I am not dragging --
    Mr Speaker 11:20 a.m.
    As much as possible, I will advise that you stay clear of that kind of area.
    Mr Titus-Glover 11:20 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, you are safe. I am going on a very good ground. Do not worry. I would want to draw the at- tention of the Lands and Natural Resourc- es Minister to enforce the boundaries to be created because it is creating confusion between the Tema Metropolitan Assembly and the Kpone-Katamanso District As- sembly in the generation of revenue. This is an issue we are confronted with. So, just as we are talking about land administration support for Lands Commission, these are things that we need. The Tema Metropoli- tan Assembly needs revenue. So, areas that initially belonged to the Tema Metropol- itan Assembly, which another Assembly would want to take away, is a recipe for problems for all of us.
    In talking about land guards, Mr Speaker, this is a national security issue, because when you look at the sophisticated weapons that these people carry, the ques- tion you ask yourself is, where did they get these weapons from? It happened in Takoradi -- a land that an Hon Member had legally secured to provide a library for his community is being denied him. With these land guards in the system, Mr Speaker, we are not safe.
    So, in supporting this Statement made by the Hon Member, a senior in this House, I believe that there is the need for us to look at the activities of the Land Title Registry, the Lands Commission and the Stool Lands Administration holistically to make sure that all these problems that are coming up will be resolved to promote the development of our country.
    With these few words, Mr Speaker, I am so grateful for the opportunity.
    Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza ( NDC -- Adaklu) 11:20 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I would want to contribute to the State- ment made by my senior Hon Colleague regarding the land administra-tion situa- tion in Ghana.
    Mr Speaker, this situation is well known to all of us, and I guess it affects us one way or the other. I am aware of government projects that have got fund- ing, but cannot go on because the land on which the project is supposed to be carried out is in dispute.
    Mr Speaker, how do other countries get it right? One, the security of data -- I always hear people say we should give Lands Commission more resources for them to do their work. What is that resource they are looking for? We cannot have any data in Ghana where, maybe, if I would want to buy land from Kojo, I could trace that information to a source which is authentic, single and secure. It depends on whom you are talking to.
    In other countries, what they have done is this, they have developed something called -- maybe, in the United Kingdom -- ordinance survey map which comes from a single source. You cannot get it from anywhere else. So, if you were to have found land at Tema which you would want to buy and they trace it back and there is only one source as such during the transaction, if it does not come from that source, you cannot continue with the transaction. This is not a plan or map that is supposed to be hand-drawn by anybody.
    Mr Speaker, you will be surprised that, it does not cost a billion or hundred million dollars to have this data which is available to all people all over the world to do this as a sovereign country. We should just be
    Mr Kwame Govers Agbodza ( NDC -- Adaklu) 11:20 a.m.

    bold enough to see how we can do this, so that we have one secure, and reliable data on land and whoever owns that land-- I think it is a possibility.

    Two, the transaction -- Mr Speaker, I am surprised that, if I am selling a land that belongs to me, I can just call some- body and say, “I am selling a land” and actually sell it to him and take the money. It is very dangerous.

    In some other jurisdictions, if you do not have a lawyer, both the buyer and the seller need their own lawyers and the mon- ey from me goes through my lawyer and through the buyer's lawyer before it gets to you. So, the record and the security of your investment cannot be disputed. How on earth is it possible for me to just sell land to somebody? No wonder, when you finish selling it to him, the uncle of the per- son who sold it could come back and say that he is not the rightful owner but then the person who took the money would be gone and there would be no trace of him.

    I believe that we should be able to pass a law which prohibits anybody from sell- ing land directly to another entity without the consent of a solicitor. It should be possible, so that we can secure our own investment.

    The third one, I find necessary is this -- Government should take interest in this because I understand there is a law in this country about stamp duty. In other jurisdictions, stamp duty income alone can be factored into a budget -- in other words, they know the quantum of property, both land and any landed property that can be sold.

    So, if it is one per cent of the property, you have to sell it, the lawyer is supposed to by law, deduct that money before they pass on the remaining money to the seller. In that case, Government can generate even bigger revenue if we go about these things in a much more secure way. So, I am suggesting that the Lands Commission

    and others should be able to learn.

    I am not sure whether the Ugandan situation is the most perfect one; but there are other jurisdictions where land issues are no more issues as we have. And we can stop this situation where hospital projects cannot go on because we have disputes on the lands.

    On this note, I thank you for the op- portunity.
    Mr Simon Osei Mensah (NPP -- Bos- omtwe) 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the Statement made by my Hon Colleague.
    Mr Speaker, it is alright if we are asking for more resources for the Lands Commis- sion. But first of all, we have to ask our- selves, the resources currently available to them, how have they accounted for them? And what are the problems inherent in the administration of land for which more resources are needed?
    If we are given this information, it will give us firm grounds to make objective and realistic analysis of the financial needs of the Lands Commission. As we speak now, we are asking for resources for them; but as to the utilisation of the resources available currently, we are not aware of how the money is used.
    Again, my friend, the Hon Sector Min- ister -- The issue of retention of internally generated funds (IGF) lies within the bosom of the authority of the Executive; and I wish he had informed this House and the listening public that, through him, a request had been made to the Minister responsible for Finance, and maybe, the Minister had refused to grant the 40 per cent retention that is being requested for.
    This is because, Mr Speaker, this is the work of the sector Minister who will liaise with the Ministry of Finance for it to approve or otherwise reject the
    Alhaji Inusah A. B. Fuseini 11:30 a.m.
    On a point of order.
    Mr Speaker, the Hon Member is mis- leading this House because this Statement has been ably made by the Chairman of the Committee on Lands and Forestry. I think this Statement is laudable and I support it. If he would advise me to consult with the Minister for Finance, that is appropriate; but let not it be carried that I am the orig- inator of this Statement.
    Mr Osei-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, just a point of information.
    When the sector Minister writes to the Ministry of Finance, he is not asking for approval. He is just channelling his request. It is not up to the Minister to give or not give approval; I think it is a Cabinet decision. So, let us not give the impression that the Minister has authority to refuse his request.
    Finally, it has to come here for approv- al. that is what the law says.
    Mr Osei-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much, former Minister of State in charge of Finance for corroborating because if it goes to the Minister for Finance and he re- alises that, there is no basis for the request of the 40 per cent retention, it will not even come to the floor of the House. That is why I said it ultimately comes to the floor for the final approval of Parliament.
    So, it goes to the Minister; he looks at it and provisionally approves and forwards it to Parliament. If the Minister for Finance does not provisionally approve it, I doubt that he would bring it to the floor of this House. I do not think that, there is any law --
    Hon Akoto Osei, I think you can take your seat to let me land, please.
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    -- rose --
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Hon Member, what is it you want to say now?
    Dr A. A. Osei 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, the Minis- ter for Finance cannot give provisional ap- proval. He acts on behalf of the President but the law says that the sector Minister must channel it through Cabinet. So, it is not his decision to make in his office if he can give provisional approval. He can make an adverse recommendation to Cabinet.
    The point is that, it is the President through Cabinet who will bring it here, not the Minister for Finance. We keep giving too much authority to the Minister for Finance as if he has that authority; he does not.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    All right. Your point is well made.
    Alhaji I. A. B. Fuseini 11:30 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, I think my good Brother and Friend should desist from this line of argument. What I understand to be happening today in Par- liament is moving us from being timorous souls to being proactive. Parliament as an institution, is saying, “build consensus”. That is why Hon Papa Owusu-Ankomah said the way to go was to bring a Motion.
    Unless my Colleague, Friend and Brother is saying that Parliament has no capacity to suggest to Government to allow Lands Commission to retain some portion of the IGF-- But this is an in- vitation to Parliament to be proactive in tackling these things.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.

    point is well made. But I believe that there are two avenues, either through the sector Minister with the procedure set out through the Minister for Finance to Cabinet or on this floor of the House with the Motion and so on. So, let us make some progress.
    Mr Osei-Mensah 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    I am going by the law where it goes through the sector Minister, gets to the Minister for Finance, Cabinet and it is for- warded to Parliament. That is the approach I am looking at. This is why I am asking him to be proactive and not Parliament. This is because he is the sector Minister and by law, he has the responsibility to do that. So, if he fails-- the law has given him the powers to make this proposal to the Minister for Finance and he would forward it to Cabinet.
    I am surprised some Hon Members are saying that if the Minister forwards it to Cabinet, and it comes here, there is no prior approval or something. Do we think if a Bill goes to the Cabinet, and the Government does not approve of it, it will come to Parliament? Are we saying if the Government does not approve of a Bill, it will come to Parliament? What are we talking about here?
    What I am saying is that the sector Minister will have to forward it to the Minister for Finance; it goes to Cabinet and Cabinet can bring it here for ultimate approval of Parliament I still stand by it.
    Mr Speaker, while I have said this, we have conceded all these things about the delays in the administration of land in our country. Mr Speaker, what we forget to look at is the institutional linkages and collaboration in the land management chain of this country.
    Mr Speaker, anybody who will say the truth in this country, by the time you real- ise, the land is already developed before
    the layout is prepared. So, the layout is prepared to ratify the wrong. If there is proper institutional collaboration and link- ages, there will be a strong link between the Town and Country Planning, the Lands Commission and other administrators of land in this country, so that the layout will be prepared, Government will plan how to send utilities to these areas before the land is developed.
    What happens here is that the owners of the land, who are often the owners of the stool will sell the land, the plot is de- veloped, houses are built, then they come to the Government and say, “Government, I have my house at about 20 kilometres away from Accra. I need electricity and water”.
    We have to look critically at our institu- tional linkages and co-operation in order to have effective land administration in this country. The process where we always try to right the wrong is not the best in this country.
    Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:30 a.m.
    Thank you very much.
    I think we will take two more and bring it to a close.
    Mr Ken O. Agyapong (NPP -- Assin Central) 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, I rise to associate myself with the Statement made by the Hon Chairman for Lands and Forestry.
    Mr Speaker, we are discussing serious
    issues here but I have listened to most of my friends and they are all asking for 40 per cent retention. I do not disagree entirely but I have my reservation. I be- lieve that we have to solve or go into the remote causes of these problems that we are enumerating here.
    First, I will share my personal experi-
    ence with the House. I have a place that I am developing; one agent brought the police to stop my workers. A good friend of mine who is in government, brought the police to stop the gentleman. This land is at East Legon around Trassaco -- three landowners, we are fighting.
    As I speak, I have stopped everything that I am doing. No law is binding any- body. These days, when I go there, that gentleman has gone for land guards who have surrounded the place and deny me entry. If I should also take action, God knows what will happen. They will say, a Member of Parliament-- this and that. It is a very serious issue.
    Another example-- Tema Develop- ment Corporation (TDC) has sold a land to me. I brought South Africans to come and develop this land which is along the Motorway. Mr Speaker, would you believe that a group of people came from Adzeikojo and are saying that they are the owners of the land? They threatened these investors and they left. So, what I am seeking -- even the courts-- one court can give judgment in my favour, another court would give a judgment in favour of Mr Speaker. We need to address all these issues.
    I am not entirely against the 40 per cent retainment. If we do not stop all these issues and we give them 40 per cent, it will be to no avail.
    Mr Speaker, I personally believe that before a traditional leader sells his own land, Lands Commission should play a role. Today, what Lands Commission does is that, Nii Kwartei sells a land to me and I only go to Lands Commission to register it. Meanwhile, we have about three, four people, but if we get one from inception of the same-- Lands Commission plays a role -- there is no way two chiefs will go out there, this one will sell to “A” and this chief will sell to “B”. It is important.
    We need police officers to also stay away. They have turned themselves into adjudicators, especially the Adenta Police. Even if it is at East Legon, they will go and call Adenta Police.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Hon Mem- ber, I would like us to stay clear of such direct accusations of certain institutions.
    Mr Agyapong 11:40 p.m.
    Thank you, Mr Speak- er.
    I am sorry but experience with you —
    So, I think we should rather empower the Lands Commission, not in terms of resources alone but authority, so that any chief or any landowner who sells his land should be permitted by Lands Commission before he sells it to whomever.
    In the United States of America, even marketing officers can sell a land, but they would go through the due process. You will get to know the rightful owner of the land before you pay. This is because you cannot sell the land without Government taking tax.
    The Government, each time it changes hands-- if it changes hands twenty times -- you have to pay tax. With that, it is very difficult for individuals to just sell lands and then land guards, police and the court will come in. So, we need to address all these remote causes.
    Then we talked about the 40 per cent retention. I believe when we do this, we will be able to limit these problems that developers face.
    With these few words, I support the Statement.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Yes, the last contributor.
    M r A l e x a n d e r K w a m i n a Afenyo-Markin (NPP-- Effutu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Statement.
    The last contributor, Hon Kennedy Ag-

    yapong, raised the issue of taxes. The Hon Member for Adaklu also raised the need for Government to look at stamp duty as a source of revenue. In fact, he added that in other jurisdictions, stamp duty alone is part of the budget the Government relies on as a source of revenue. Mr Speaker, time and again, we have had the Govern- ment complaining about revenue to the extent that last Friday, government was compelled to increase the VAT threshold.

    So, the question we ask, from these beautiful and logical contributions is this, can Government take steps to properly regulate land transactions and make sure that the needed revenues that are due Gov- ernment are attained, so that, Government can rely on these revenues to develop our dear nation?

    Quite apart from the taxes, the issue of boundary disputes has been raised. We know that our customary boundaries were such that we did not make distinctions at the time until our colonial masters started their own system which brought all these disputes.

    We have vested lands-- our traditional rulers -- For example, Effutu shares a bor- der with Gomoa, but because of conflicts, our brothers and sisters from Gomoa -- the land is a vested land. Meanwhile, none of the chiefs from either of the traditional areas has benefited from the sale of lands since 1963. So, Mr Speaker, this is a real challenge and the Hon Minister must get on board.

    I believe that, this is not limited to Winneba and Gomoa. We have a lot of boundary disputes. Government has in- terest in such lands that the local people do not benefit from. People get into the sale of it, they benefit and the people do not benefit.

    So, coming back to the earlier point and to conclude, taxes from the sale of land are so important and we cannot even imagine the percentage that we can use to fill our budget gaps. We do not need to

    increase taxes to burden the few who are paying them, but if we widen the net and concentrate in the area of lands, we may even get more than we are getting and we will not go out looking for loans.

    Thank you so much for the opportunity.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:40 p.m.
    Thank you very much.
    Hon Members, without my being tempted into descending into the arena of contributions, I would want to say that, an- other area that we need to look at seriously is the area of registration of customary titles to land. If we are able to streamline that area, it will help us a great deal.
    The families that own these lands do not have the capacity to register their titles to land. What are we doing to assist them? If we are able to do that, it is the root title and from there it moves on.
    Our record-keeping at the Lands Com- mission is also something we have to take seriously. You conduct a search today concerning a particular piece or parcel land, the answers they give you embolden you to go ahead and transact with whoever appears on the face of the record to be the owner. Now, you go ahead, you file your papers and then somebody else surfaces from somewhere with a similar outcome of a search. So, these are areas that we need to seriously look at.
    In the light of the contributions made, I would direct that the Statement together with the contributions made by Hon Mem- bers be sent to the Ministry of Finance as well as the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for necessary action.
    I want to thank you. Yes, Hon Majority Bench, what do we do?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:40 p.m.
    Mr Speaker, we have about three committees that will meet at exactly 12.00 noon. It is about 11.30. So, I hereby beg to move, that this House do adjourn till tomorrow at 10.00 o'clock in the forenoon.
    Mr Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, yesterday, we had the Budget -- we have Bills that are very important. There is no reason the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General should not be here for us to take this Bill.
    This is the Government's Bill. There is no reason they are not here. They have not given us any reason they are not here.
    He says the House should adjourn, but tomorrow, if he calls us, does he want us to come and sit down and ask us to ad- journ again? There is no reason the Hon Minister who moved this Bill is not here for us to debate it. Or the Government is no more interested in running their own programmes?
    So, Mr Speaker, we would want to hear from them before we can second the Motion.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    Yes, shall we hear your response?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, it is not that because the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General is not here, but this was the briefing I received from the Lead- er of the House. They met this morning. This was the directive that was given to me. So, I cannot explain the reason the Bill could not continue today.
    The Chairman of the Committee, Hon Alban Bagbin is also not in the Chamber.
    Mr Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, he says that they gave him a briefing that after the Statement, we should adjourn and they never consulted us. Is that what he is saying was the briefing? So, if the Hon Minister for Justice and Attorney-General was to walk in here or Hon Bagbin was to walk in here, would we still have ad- journed? Is that what he is saying?
    Mr Ahmed Ibrahim 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, clearly, no Leadership met this morning and Hon Alban Bagbin is not even in the country -- and he is the Chairman of the
    Committee. So, clearly, that is why that decision came in and I cannot come and destool that decision here.
    Mr First Deputy Speaker 11:50 a.m.
    All right. It looks like in the absence of the Hon Minister for Justice and Attorney-General, as well as the Chairman of the Committee, there is very little we can do about it.
    But I would like to advise that in such matters, once an item appears on the Or- der Paper, as much as possible, we must make sure that the people responsible for taking up those issues would be available in the Chamber to assist us to make some progress.
    Mr Dominic B. A. Nitiwul 11:50 a.m.
    Mr Speaker, because of your ruling, I would take that and not go further. But I just note that the Vice Chairman of the Com- mittee is sitting down here, and we have a Deputy Minister in that Ministry, so, there is no excuse. Government should take its business serious.
    I beg to second the Motion for us to adjourn, Mr Speaker.
    Question put and Motion agreed to.
    ADJOURNMENT 11:50 a.m.

  • The House was accordingly adjourned at 11.54 a.m. till Thursday, 21st Novem- ber, 2013 at 10.00 a.m.
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