Jul 25 , 2020

If approved by the parliament, an advisory body will be formed at all levels of government to oversee the urban landholding adjudication and registration process.

Drafted by the Federal Urban Real Property Registration & Information Agency, the bill proposes the establishment of an urban landholding adjudication and registration advisory commission at federal, regional government, chartered city, zone, urban centre and weredalevels.

The bill, which amends the existing urban landholding registration proclamation, states that the advisory commission will be tasked with organising a technical expert advisory team whenever necessary.

The need to institutionalise landholding adjudications and registrations triggered the formation of the advisory council, according to Arage Kibret, communications director at the Agency.

The advisory commission will employ the head of the landholding registration institution, an organ that coordinates and carries out urban landholding adjudication and registration and provides services for registered landholders, as a member and secretary.

The establishment of the advisory commission is indispensable to the sector, according to Berhanu Zeleke (PhD), lecturer of urban development studies at Kotebe Metropolitan University.

“But the staff that makes up the commission should be professionally qualified,” he said. “Obsession with the law can’t bring changes and transformation to the sector; it’s rather the performance that should be emphasised.”

The bill, which has been in the making for the past year, also allows online application for landholding rights. Anyone who claims landholding rights can apply via online platforms and receive the holding right certificate without a physical visit of the institution.

It also outlines that anyone who lost a landholding right replacement certificate shall receive the certificate in less than a month of time. The existing proclamation does not specify the time.

To devolve powers to the lower relevant bodies, the draft gives duties and powers to urban administration to establish and organise the land registration and information institute. The institute will be in place of implementing the proclamation and regulations, directives and standards at urban centres.

The draft states that adjudication of landholding rights can be suspended at any time, before or after public notice about the adjudication, when the authorised body issues an injunction order. The existing proclamation says that the land holding adjudication process is suspended only if it is approved and if there is an injunction order of a legally authorised body issued before the publication is made public.

The draft, which is expected to be ratified within the coming three months, also demands that an adjudication officer complete the announcement of adjudication through public notice within not more than five months.

The existing law does not specify the time in which the adjudication must be announced. It mandated regional or urban administrations determine the period in which the adjudication officer shall complete the work and leaves out the specific adjudication neighbourhood.

Landholders do not have to apply to be registered as landholders. The existing proclamation states that upon the completion of the landholding adjudication process, landholders have to apply to the registering institution to be registered as landholders.

However, the draft proclamation, which is now pending at the Council of Ministers for review, abandoned the landholding registration application process. Landholders after they are adjudicated become automatically registered as landholders. They only have to apply to obtain the certificate of landholding registration.

“This is to reduce bureaucracy and wasting time,” said Arage.

The main problems to the sector are related to insufficient GIS cadastral mapping, which is mapping, demarcating and documenting real parcels with satellite devices, according to Berhanu.

"Urban land parcels should be sufficiently mapped and demarcated through an aerial photographic survey, which is checked against a ground survey," recommended Berhanu.

Registering, updating and implementing all the parcels across urban centres would greatly bring a great deal of efficiency to the legal cadastral system of the country, as most of the challenges emanate from its absence, according to Berhanu.

PUBLISHED ON Jul 25,2020 [ VOL 21 , NO 1056]

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