It is not supplementary, but Hon Minister, if you can help, you may help in that direction.
Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, actually, the plantations are not necessarily part of forest reserves. They are what they are -- plantations. The forest reserves are established by law and they are separate and apart. The off-reserves simply means whatever is really not within the forest reserves.
People who start bushfires start them more or less anywhere and really they often start them because they are chasing after akrantie or they want to do slash and burn agriculture, which is what many of our people use and the fire sometimes runs out of control. So, these are the sources of many of these fires. They could really start anywhere.
In terms of what we are doing with the Distr ict Assemblies and so on, I mentioned that there are greenbelts being established -- You know what I mean by greenbelts; making sure there is a break between the plantation and any other forest or set of trees, so that if there is a fire, it would not be able to cross. For example, there is a wall here, there is a space here and a wall there, that would be the plantation and its space would be left bare so that the fire cannot cross to the other side. So, these are some of the measures being undertaken and I have listed them in the statement I made.
Proposed New Lands Commission Headquarters
*359. Mr Benito Owusu-Bio asked the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources when the construction of the proposed new Lands Commission Headquarters building would commence?
Nii Osah Mills: Mr Speaker, the Headquarters building of the Lands Commission is of paramount importance to the success of the ongoing land sector reforms through the Land Administration Project Phase II. This process will ultimately lead to the realisation of the One-Stop-Shop concept for effective land service delivery in Ghana. In effect, this effort will ensure land title registration which is necessary to provide security of tenure for enhanced national economic growth.
Mr Speaker, KfW (the Investment Wing of the German Development Corporation), in 2004, as part of the funding sources for the Land Administration Project (LAP I), made available a loan facility of Six Million Euros (6,000,000.00) for Lands Commission to access to build the National Headquarters. The loan was in two tranches, of which three million (€3,000,000.00) was set aside for the construction of National Lands Commission Corporate Headquarters with a counterpart funding from the Government of Ghana.
Mr Speaker, the problem is that, the loan required repayment such that the repayment had to be generated from the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the Lands Commission. And the Government of Ghana carried out its part of the agreement but the KfW kept changing the
rules and at a point in time, made a request to the Government of Ghana to provide an additional amount of €5,800,000 to cover the total cost of the building, including furniture and fittings prior to the disbursement of the funds.
This led to the Lands Commission at its 26th meeting held in June19th -- 20th, 2014, to seek approval from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the Commission to opt out of the KfW contract and to source for alternative funding for the construction of the new building.
The Ministry of Finance endorsed this request, and currently, it has been decided that the building would be constructed using a Public Private Partnership (PPP) approach. And as I speak now, the Valuation Division of the Lands Commission is in the process of determining the market value per acre of the subject land.
Mr Speaker, the idea is that, all firms which have now shown interest to go along the PPP project would be invited to provide their bids. And this would be at a competitive basis; this is restrictive tendering. They would develop and handover to the Commission a functional headquarters complex fully furnished and equipped in exchange for a portion of the land reserved for the building which covers 14.61 acres. All things going well, the construction is expected to start by June this year.
And that, Mr Speaker, is the current situation. So, it is expected that the four firms who have expressed interest would go through a bid process, the winner would be selected and by June this year, it is expected that construction work would begin.
Thank you, Mr Speaker.