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         Second Land Titling

The Thailand Second Land Titling project, supported by Loan 3254-TH for US$30.0 million, was approved in FY91. The loan closed on September 30, 1996 after a one-year extension, and an undisbursed balance of US$0.6 million was canceled. The Australian Agency for International Development provided cofinancing for technical assistance and human resource development in the amount of $A7.3 million. The Implementation Completion Report (ICR) was prepared by the East Asia and Pacific Regional Office. The ICR includes comments from the borrower and cofinancier as appendixes.

The objectives of the project were to provide landowners with secure titles to their land, improve land administration, and develop an effective national property valuation system. The project was the second phase of Bank support for the government’s accelerated national cadastral mapping and land titling program and was followed by a third project. Project components included rural and urban mapping, land titling and administration, strengthening of the land valuation authority and the Department of Lands, and technical assistance, training and studies.

The project was implemented successfully, achieved most of its objectives and had a highly satisfactory outcome. Minor implementation problems occurred because of procurement delays, deficient project planning and management and cost overruns, which the government met. A parallel project wholly funded by the government competed for implementation resources, and a contractor went bankrupt, delaying project completion by two years and requiring extension of the loan closing date. However, the project met or exceeded all the physical targets related to titling (aerial photography, cadastral surveying, mapping and title deeds). The original target for issuing titles was lowered in the early stages of implementation from 3 million to 2 million land parcels, for two reasons. New information became available on ownership patterns, and there were difficulties adjudicating around 20 percent of land parcels. The project also met its physical targets in land administration, branch office development and training. But it did not fully meet expectations for institutional strengthening and change because of a hiring freeze, high staff turnover, a shortage of skilled staff (many moved to the private sector) and poor personnel policies.

About 700,000 rural families have benefited from the project, including many in the northeast and upper north areas, where absolute poverty is high. Studies showed that land titles improved access to formal credit, increased land values, and encouraged farmers to improve their land and to use inputs that raised productivity. In Bangkok, secure property rights have facilitated the growth of manufacturing and service industries and helped to generate employment. The project has had significant fiscal impact. Land administration has now become self-sustaining, since the fees received from an increasing number of land transactions (which are facilitated by secure titles) fully cover costs. Moreover, land taxes are contributing substantial and increasing amounts to national revenue. The ICR believes that these gains can be maintained and provides details of actions needed to sustain project impacts, but without any schedule for future operation of the system.

The Operations Evaluation Department endorses the ICR’s ratings of outcome as highly satisfactory, institutional development as substantial, sustainability as likely, and Bank performance as highly satisfactory.

The ICR is satisfactory and contains useful lessons for other projects of this type. The most important lesson is that security of tenure through land titling can be a substantial stimulant to rural economies where farmers respond by improving their land and using more agricultural inputs. Other lessons are that systematic land adjudication is the most effective way to accelerate land titling and that related institutional changes require long-term efforts extending far beyond a single project.

No audit is planned.

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