Georgia: Need land administration reform? Start a revolution

Author: Penelope Fidas and Jim McNicholas
Publication: Celebrating Reforms 2007
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In 2004, a newly elected, reform-minded government revolutionized Georgia’s land administration system—just a matter of months upon taking office. The goal was a new land registry that guaranteed transparency and efficiency. In June 2004, Georgia established a new National Agency of Public Registry, which was to be independent in its budget. In December 2004, a new law defined the agency’s fees. There were extensive publicity campaigns to highlight the corruption-fighting changes.

This case study looks at the problems inherited by the bold reformers and how they were able to reshape business practices for the better, despite the obstacles.

Main Findings

  • Interviews highlight that corruption was obviously reduced in land administration after the 2004 reforms.
  • The procedures, time, and costs to register property in Georgia fell after the introduction of the National Agency of the Public Registry and the new law. For example, the time to register fell from 39 days to 9, according to the Doing Business database.
  • Optional expedited proce¬dures, combined with lower fees and centralized procedures, put Georgia among the 10 least expensive countries to register property and among the 15 most efficient in the world, according to Doing Business.
  • Land registry revenues increased significantly by 2005—thanks to a higher volume of regis-trations, a new fee structure, and the retention of funds at the registry.