National, News

Land Policy under review

By Bosco Bush

 

Ministry of Land, Housing, and Urban Development is embarking on a vital attempt to review and update the country’s land policy.

The ministry is conducting a two-day consultative workshop to discuss and incorporate significant policies that will ensure the proper usage and management of land.

Since gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan has operated without a clear and comprehensive land policy.

The country has relied on the outdated Southern Sudan Land Act, which lacks critical laws to protect the land and the rights of its people.

Addressing the media, the Minister of Land, Housing, and Urban Development expressed optimism about South Sudan’s ability to develop a new Land Policy and Land Act that will better serve the interests and needs of its citizens.

“I want to tell the people of South Sudan that this is your policy and we are now working with the parliamentarians so that this policy is passed into Act. We stated earlier that, this Act is for Southern Sudan not for the Republic South Sudan. We need our own Act for the Republic of South Sudan,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairperson of Land, Housing and Physical Infrastructure Committee in the Transitional National Legislative Assembly, Ambrose Lomin Pitia stated that lack of land policy is a driving factor for underdevelopment and rampant land grabbing across the country.

“The issue of the land policy that is overdue has created many challenges in this country. The land grabbing, people occupying land of people. You cannot invest, utilize or do anything when you don’t have a clear policy,” Pitia said.

Land Policy is the bedrock of economic and social life in both urban residential areas and the countryside. Land policies define the legal rights and conditions of access and/or ownership to this inherent resource and regulate its distribution among multiple stakeholders.

Mr. Meshak Malo, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country Representative elaborated on the significance of land policy to every citizen of any category including farmers.

He disclosed that South Sudan currently is farming only 4 per cent of its entire land due to a lack of clear land policy.

“So far, South Sudan is only farming about 4 per cent of the entire land. For the land to be farmed properly and utilized, proper policy is very important. Everybody in South Sudan including the farmers, needs clarity on the land for them to be able to invest,” Malo stated.

The workshop is being attended by parliamentarians, government officials, experts, and partners.

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