LIBERIA: EU Official Stresses Need To Put De-centralization Into Practice
ZWEDRU, March 31 (LINA) – The head of the European Union (EU) delegation visiting Grand Gedeh County, EU Counselor to Liberia Theodorus Kaspers, has stressed the need to transform the concept of de-centralization into practice.
According to Kaspers, this can be done with the empowerment of local authorities at county service centers in all fifteen counties of Liberia in line with government’s recently endorsed De-concentration platform, the road map to vision 2030 when the country goes full blast in all spheres.
He cited similar delays in three African counties, where he served before coming to Liberia, urging operators of windows at the county service centers, after explaining their challenges, to exercise patience as experience gained by the mission will be shared with relevant authorities of government ministries and agencies as well as lawmakers for the way forward.
This, he said, is necessary to meet the intended objectives of decentralization beginning with county service centers with trust and confidence from citizens and residents, especially in rural Liberia.
At present, record shows several months of delays in the delivery of western marriage and birth certificates because the signatures of relevant authorities in Monrovia have to be obtained, which many see as frustrating.
Kaspers also noticed that there was lack of operational allowances to reach out and pay transport services on land and air, a cost which operators of windows must bear, he said, by underwriting the costs from their own pockets to meet local demand for confidence building.
The EU Counselor and party were on an assessment mission in Grand Gedeh County to get updates on the perspective of programs supported by EU in the county
There are thirteen windows, including transport, education, commerce and LRA, which are all facing challenges, according to Grand Gedeh County service center coordinator, J. Moniayond Gwion.
He said although US$30,000 has been allotted by government to run service centers, it is yet to be actualized.
He told the EU delegation that employees assigned at windows are paid by their respective ministries and agencies.
Gwion disclosed that the Grand Gedeh County Service Center last month generated over four million Liberian dollars in revenue, adding that allocation of operational funds will enhance revenue generation.
Also making remarks, the Liberia Land Authority County Administrator, Alfred N. Dorbah, disclosed plans to protect national parks on the Grand Gedeh side of the two national parks in Southeastern Liberia.
He also informed the delegation about the completion of thirty acres of land survey to build camps for forest guards near national parks on the Grand Gedeh side of the two parks.
In this direction, he told the visiting EU delegation that 30 acres in all (ten each) for Ziah Town, Glio Tempo border on the Grand Gedeh side of Grebo/Krahn park, ten acres in Jarwodee near the Sapo National Park were surveyed upon the request of the Forestry Development Authority (FDA) with the consent of locals to build camps for forest guards to facilitate effective protection of both parks.