The European Union (EU), through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has turned over to the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) several vehicles to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Eight Counties in the Country namely Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Rivercess, Grand Kru, River Gee and Marylandare to benefiting from the 10 vehicles procured for use by the LDSP.
At a formal hand-over ceremony of the vehicles held at the Offices of the European Union Compound in Mamba Point Monday, EU Head of Delegate Tina Intelmann, said the use of the vehicles is for the bigger purpose of helping the Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, bring services closer to its citizens, especially those situated in inaccessible communities.
“Don’t stop at the use of the cars, but rather on ensuring that Service Centers in these counties are fully empowered to provide the services needed by the people to respond positively to the Decentralization Program” Ms. Intelmann noted.
The EU Representative applauded the unique partnership with the UNDP in the implementation of the Decentralization Program. The donation of the vehicles fulfills a commitment made by the EU during the formal launch of the Government’s De-concentration Platform in the City of Gbarnga, Bong County on February 18, 2015.
Also speaking at the program, UNDP Deputy Country Director for Program Cleophas Torori mentioned the efforts made by all partners in realizing a long standing plan to provide services to rural population in Liberia.
Mr. Torori pointed out that the donation couldn’t have come at a better time, when the Government Economic plan is anchored on coordination and the fast track of programs and services.
“We anticipate that this vision of de-concentration will be realized in the soonest possible time”, said Mr. Torori.
Acknowledging receipt of the gesture on the part of the EU to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), Its Deputy Minister for Administration Varney Sirleaf stressed that the importance of the vehicles was to stimulate and promote de-concentration in what he termed “tough terrains” within the 15 political subdivisions of Liberia.
Mr. Sirleaf urged the Superintendents to ensure that the vehicles be used to manage the de-concentration process properly. “We are grateful to our partners for helping us “Lift Liberia” but we must make sure efforts of de-concentration works” Deputy Minister Sirleaf concluded
On behalf of the Superintendents the Assistant Superintendent for Fiscal Affairs in Lofa County, Arthur Bestman described rural dwellers as major stakeholders in the de-concentration program.
Mr. Bestman applauded efforts by the MIA to take practical steps needed to provide the services needed in the various Counties. “De-centralized support positively affects the livelihood of the people” Mr. Bestman stressed.
Counties that are expected to benefit from the donation are Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, Lofa, Rivercess, Grand Kru, River Gee and Maryland Counties.
The LDSP supports the implementation of the decentralization policy in Liberia in promoting participatory local governance, strengthened sustainable political harmony, inclusive socio-economic growth and rights-based and gender responsive development and is fully aligned with Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance and the Liberia Decentralization Implementation Plan (LDIP). The cost of the 8 vehicles is put at over US$183,000.
The presentation of the vehicles marked the fulfillment of a commitment made by the EU, during the formal launch of the Government’s Deconcentration Platform in the City of Gbarnga, Bong County on February 18, 2015.
Currently, the Liberian Government, with support from its international partners, is implementing the LDSP, aimed at promoting shared governance and local economic development. Deconcentration of services to the counties is a necessary first step to achieving successful decentralization in the country.