By Watipaso Mzungu
Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Sam Dalitso Kawale has described the Land Information Management System (LMIS) the ministry has developed as timely in addressing challenges that indigenous Malawians used to face to access land in their own country.
The ministry is implementing LMIS with support from the World Bank under the Agricultural Commercialization Project (AGCOM) to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of land administration services to the general public and to ensure transparency and accountability in all land transactions.
The project comes hot on the heels of the implementation of the new land-related laws, which President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera assented to recently, to address challenges affecting land acquisition and ownership in Malawi.
Among others, the government plans to digitalize land information as a measure to achieve equitable land distribution in Malawi.
The new laws also want to expose how some greedy individuals, particularly Malawians of other origins, used their accumulated wealth and money to push indigenous Malawians to the corners through acquisition of multiple plots both in cities and major towns across the country.
Speaking in Parliament on Monday, Kawale said the LIMS, once developed and operationalized, will automate all business processes in the delivery of land administration and management services, thereby reducing the time and costs associated with land transaction and registration.
“It will facilitate and improve systematic adjudication, demarcation, and registration of individual land parcels; it will provide online access to land information related to businesses, companies, and registered trusts; it will improve collection of fees and taxes pertaining to land transactions, thereby increasing revenue from Land Related Transactions by simplifying the payment methods of land transactions through e-payments such as Airtel Money, Mpamba, and other commercial bank online platforms,” he said.
Kawale further stated that clients will no longer have to physically visit Land, Survey and Physical Planning Offices to pay for land related transactions since it will be integrated to other stakeholder organizations via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Some of the organizations include the Malawi Revenue Authority; the Malawi Investment and Trade Centre; the National Registration Bureau; the National Statistics Office; and the Malawi Spatial Data Platform.
“LIMS could not have come at a right time than this because of the image issues that my Ministry has been facing and struggling with. I have no doubt that LIMS will help in improving the image of my Ministry as issues relating to missing files will become history. This is because the Departments that handle most of the information in my Ministry (i.e. Departments of Lands, Surveys and Physical Planning) will have their processes and data sets linked to enhance transparency,” he said.