OBG talks to Yannick Mokanda, Director-General, National Agency for Urban Planning, Topographical Works and Land Registry (ANUTTC)

Yannick Mokanda, Director-General, National Agency for Urban Planning, Topographical Works and Land Registry (ANUTTC)

Interview: Yannick Mokanda

What is the ANUTTC’s mission following reforms?

YANNICK MOKANDA: The ANUTTC has two main objectives: the provision of land ready for construction and the delivery of land titles. As the government was having trouble providing enough sites equipped for construction, the ANUTTC was created as a solution to the former dysfunctional situation and to organise urban planning. Our function is that of a developer, but in a sector distinct from private real estate developers.

We also have a responsibility to the government to deliver land titles; the ANUTTC does not do it directly as it involves the participation of several bodies which converge around the agency. The ANUTTC deals with technical issues, such as surveying, boundary-fixing and managing topography, and the Directorate General of Taxes intervenes in administrative procedures. The Directorate General of Taxes is allowed to manage the government’s private property and can cede part of it in a contract of sale. The Land Registration Authority has been decentralised and manages the legal aspects of land title allocations, in collaboration with the Court of First Instance, which intervenes to legalise the operation by issuing a registration order.

Why can it take as long as 10 years to obtain a land title, and how can this be reduced to 180 days?

MOKANDA: The reasons for this were the high number of intervening organs, lengthy procedures and administrative dysfunction. Seven different bureaucracies were involved, the process entailed 134 steps and the ministry did not have the capacity to carry out its functions, which held up land title deliveries to eight, 10 or even 15 years. Reforms have sped up delivery and reduced costs. The procedure now comprises only seven steps and now four organs are concerned. On the operational side, the Ministry of Habitat has been divided into two sectors of activity, the first being conception, carried out by the ministry and its cabinets, and the other being execution, for which the ANUTTC is responsible. Procedures are now coordinated by the agency, not the ministry, and the agency is a legally and financially autonomous public establishment that maintains contractual links with the ministry. Everything has been centralised around a single window, and internal procedures have been improved with a new IT system.

How can the start to the government’s social housing project be accelerated?

MOKANDA: To begin the social housing project, it is necessary to speed up the provision of viable terrain. A pluri-annual servicing programme is necessary, as a constant effort is needed to reduce the housing deficit. From the moment serviceable land is available, investors can build units rapidly. Providing suitable terrain has been the bottleneck slowing the start of this project, and is all the more challenging because this stage represents 60% of costs in construction projects.

What will be the impact of surveying and centralising information on land titles?

MOKANDA: The land title census is part of a three-year regularisation initiative. People who have built on non-viable land without a land title will subsequently seek to obtain one. This is the majority of the work the agency will undertake once it opens. We will regularise people, but only under certain conditions. The structure must be in a zone with a sewage system and must have access to roads, water and electricity. We will survey all land titles and create an inventory of all the country’s land. However, we will not be able to regularise certain people, for whom we will either proceed with the creation of a holding zone where we can house them or evict them. When a person does not hold a legal title, eviction without compensation will ensue. This situation highlights the need to build social housing, as it will provide a destination for those who will be evicted. For now, the government has been providing compensation, but these people still do not know where to go, and even when they have money they build on unviable terrain, thereby displacing the problem.

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Yannick Mokanda

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The Report: Gabon 2012

Construction & Real Estate chapter from The Report: Gabon 2012

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