Local Gov’t Act Before Jan. 15

By Garmonyou Wilson
The Chairman of the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP), Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly says that before the National Legislature returns from its break on January15, 2015; the Executive Branch would have prepared the Local Government Act for passage into law.
Speaking during the LDSP Annual Board Meeting, the Internal Affairs Minister said that decentralization is the bases for any democratic government.
He asserted that the Government would be using a two-track approach to get the decentralization process off and running and that the first step is to get the citizens to realize tangible results in decentralization like making it possible to get marriage documents or driver licenses in each county.
He continued that the second step is the legal aspect of decentralization wherein it entails legislation to ensure that a local government structure is designed to empower citizens through representation by and through local governance.
The Co-chair of the LDSP and Chairman of the Governance Commission, Dr. Amos Sawyer said also said that the two tracks are the way forward to ensure that the decentralization process is realized.
Dr. Sawyer said further that the delivery outputs of the implementation of the decentralization plan are fully coordinated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Also serving as co-Chair for the LDSP, the Ministry of Finance and Developmental Planning’s (MFDP) Deputy Minister for Budget, Tanneh Brumson said that so far LDSP has made a lot of achievements but more has to be done to ensure that the citizens feel the effects of government locally.
MFDP Budget Minister Brumson said that reports from the local government officials to central government are very critical and must be underlined to make sure that the process be monitored and evaluated.
She continued that reporting has been realized as a problem in the past henceforth if necessary the development of a reporting program could enhance local government work.
The United Nations Developmental Program (UNDP) Country Director for Liberia, Kamil Kamoludden said a benefit to the two-track approach is that it ensures decisions around services involving the local people for which it is made for.
Country Director Kamoludden said that the UNDP supports the process of decentralization as they are convinced that this is the best way forward.
For their part, the Head of the Swedish Developmental Agency (SIDA), EwaNunes Sorenson said that the Swedish Government believes that decentralization would better Liberia’s democracy and that decentralization doesn’t only mean creating new laws.