Department of Planning & Research

Hon. Augustus M. Zayzay, Jr
Deputy Minister for Planning & Research
Hon. Augustus M. Zayzay, Jr Deputy Minister for Planning & Research
Photo Credit: MIA

HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

Background

The history of the department of research and development planning began with the creation of a research section in 1966, within the then Ministry of Rural Development and Urban reconstruction. During this time, the section was known as Regional Territorial Development Planning and was headed by a Director and an Assistant Director. The first man to serve as Director was Hon. Edwin K. Sherman, while Hon. Thomas M. Teage served as an Assistant Director. The Department functioned in this capacity through the administration of Minister Jonathan Goodrige who died in 1977, and was succeeded by this Deputy Minister for administration Hon. Samuel Hills as Minister.

This function and arrangement was maintained until President William R. Tolbert Jr. realized the increased in the Planning Ministry’s functions and mandated the Ministry of Rural Development and Urban reconstruction to integrate the reporting functions of the Superintendents and Regional Territorial department with a mandate to report to the Rural Development and Urban reconstruction Minister. In order to gather more development information and make prompt reports, counties report were subsequently turned over to the Research Territorial and Regional planning section. On the basis of this arrangement, Hon. Thomas M. Teage carried out the responsibility as Director until the Executive law creating the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Rural Development as separate Ministries within the executive branch of Government during the administration of President Samuel K. Doe. See prior legislation (1956 code 13-260, Rev. Stat. Secs 949,950 (1), (2) L 1914, 1971-72).

The sectorial structure of the department of Research remained until the civil war in Liberia. Following the elections in 1997, President Charles G. Taylor instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs to increase the functions and responsibilities of the research section by incorporating development reports into the section reports since they were dealing with superintendents and Assistant Superintendents of the counties where development programs and projects are implemented. This was intended to better coordinate the work with the people who will be direct beneficiaries. Additionally, in 2003, the section was elevated to departmental status with a deputy and Assistant Ministers respectively.

The first person who served as head of the Department was Hon. Maxwell S. Poe; he later became Minister of Internal Affairs. Minister Poe was succeeded by Hon. Alfred M. T. Penny, assisted by Hon. Edward Faijue, as Assistant Minister. During the existence of the Department, there have been various leaders who have made significant contribution to the Department development. Some of the heads included Hon. Peter Seneh who became Department head under the transitional government headed by former interim president Judu Bryant. Assistant minister to Hon. Seneh was Hon. Tarweh B. Kermuka. Immediately after the election of Her Excellency President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Hon. Joseph Geebro was appointed deputy Minister for Research, Planning and development, assisted by Hon. Omaru Nyei as Assistant Minister. Hon. Geebro was later succeeded by Hon. Walter Y. Wisner. In continuation of President Johnson’s Governance structuring, Hon. Walter Wisner was moved to the Land Commission where he serves as Vice Chairman currently. Accordingly, Hon. Peter Z. N. Kamei succeeded Hon. Wisner as Deputy Minister, assisted by Hon. Omaru Nyei and later Hon. J. Allison Barco who succeeded Hon. Nyei. They served under Hon. Ambulai Johnson and Hon. Harrison S. Karnwea Sr. during their stayed at the MIA as Ministers respectively.

Currently, the Department is headed by Hon. Augustus M. Zayzay Jr. and ably assisted by Hon. Allen S. Kromah as Assistant Minister.

Mandate

The Department is responsible for ensuring that the research and planning responsibilities of the ministry are adequately coordinated, well structure, and layout with the overall objective of enhancing the statutory responsibilities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

Functions

In addition to its core function, the Department of Research is also tasked with other subsidiary responsibilities as well as other deliverables which are linked to the government’s development strategy. Amongst the many are;

1.      Oversee the collection and publication of tribal laws

2.      Oversee programs geared at Decentralization

3.      Coordinate with donors for funding of projects

4.      Establish and maintain database of counties work plans and NGO activities in the rural areas.

5.      Negotiate with donors for funding of urban related programs in concept with Urban Department.

6.      Conduct periodic socio-economic surveys

7.      Serve as focal person for PAIDWA and AARDO

8.      Organize research activities on monies, folklores, etc., and

9.      Ensure cordial working relationship between NGOs and local authorities.

10.  Oversee the monitoring and evaluation of all ministry programs.

The Department of Research is structured in accordance with its mandate and the revised executive law of 1956 code 13.260. The Department has four functional divisions to manage its technical and administrative operations.

DIVISION OF RESEACH AND DEVELOPMENT PLANNING

The Division of Research and Development Planning was created during the administration of President Charles G. Taylor. It was created to research information for the collection of data on human development trends and project activities focusing on leeward counties and central administration.  The Division is also responsible to coordinate the preparation of project proposals, annual reports, and other technical documents. Additionally, the Division serves as focal point for peace building and reconciliation programs. The division is also increasingly called upon by other units and Departments within the Ministry to provide expert inputs through collaboration with their programs. The Division is headed by a Director who is the principal Director of the Department.

DIVISION OF CENTRAL FILE

The Division of Central File came into existence during the administration of Hon. Harrison Karnwea as Minister of Internal Affairs in the year 2010. The Division was established to manage and preserve all public essential records of central and local government for future reference. The Division also research from the counties all obsolete records for preservation. The Division is headed by a Director.

DIVISION OF FOLKWAYS

 The executive law of Legislation L. 1947 Chapter 5, volume 2 sections 13, and 62, created the Bureau of Folkways, currently known as the Division of Folkways within the Department of Research and Development Planning of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

According to the Liberian code of Law of 1956, page 555, the Division was enacted into Law or created for the purpose of collecting, preserving, preparing, and producing materials of the various ethnic and linguistic groups of the Republic of Liberia.

The duties of the Division are as follow

To conduct research on the origins, settlements and practices of the various ethnic groups in Liberia.

·         Collect, compile, and prepare information on the Cultural heritage and values of the various bush societies, and collect traditional Artifacts, Folklores, Folksongs for preservation.

The Division of Folkways is headed by a Director who is assisted by an Assistant Director.

DIVISION OF NGOS AFFAIRS

The Division of NGO Affairs was set up in 2007 under the Administration of Minister Ambulai B. Johnson. The Division was established to ensure cordial working relationship between local authorities, NGOS, and CBOS. The division is also responsible to monitor and evaluate the performance of NGOS and CBOS at the local level; Collect data on NGOs and CBOs activities in the counties. The Division of NGO is headed by a Director.

Hon. Augustus M. Zayzay, Jr. is the current Deputy Minister for Research and Development Planning