— As Supt Robinson Seeks Gov’t intervention to fully implement projects
By James M. Karimu
Bomi County Superintendent Adama J. Robinson has revealed that delay in the disbursement of County Social Development Fund (CSDF) has stalled Bomi County’s development agenda.
Bomi County, located in western Liberia, is one of those counties that have been benefiting from CSDF prior to the arrival of Superintendent Adama Robinson.
However, Superintendent Robinson said he has spent one year-six months in office as Superintendent of the county, but disclosed that the county has not received her portion of the CSDF, something he lamented is strangulating the county in terms of development.
Speaking to our reporter on May 25, 2019 in his office in Tubmanburg City, Bomi County Superintendent Robinson said the Government of Liberia under the leadership of President George Manneh Weah has not made any payment to the county since he took office as Superintendent in May 2018.
He expressed disappointment over the lack of CSDF to Bomi; something he noted has hindered the implementation of major development projects in the county.
“Right now, there is nothing like County Social Development Funds in our account. So we slowed down on the issue of construction or the implementation of projects in Bomi County, because we do not have money now,” Superintendent Robinson lamented.
According to the Superintendent, his leadership cannot complete priority projects at the moment, particularly the construction of a mini stadium in Tubmanburg; a situation he said has created serious setback for the county.
“In the absence of funding from government, it is just impossible for us to carry on any development initiatives,” he noted.
The last county council sitting for Bomi County that earmarked current stalled projects was in 2015, when a total of 32 projects were identified for full implementation with an estimated amount of US$1,705,271.41.
Meanwhile, of the 32 projects earmarked in 2015, only one of them (Jenneh Teachers’ Quarter project, located in Dowein District) is still ongoing and the rest are fully completed, according to the Financial Report brought for the January 12, 2019 County Council Sitting, which reportedly ended in a deadlock.
When questioned as to whether the January 2019 County Council Sitting which ended in a ‘deadlock’ was in line with the Budget law of Liberia, Superintendent Robinson said they worked in line with the law as required.
According to him, there was inclusive participation of all sectors in the county sitting including CSOs, media, women groups, youth groups and traditional leaders, among others.
The Budget Law mandates the Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to issue allotment based on the resolution of each county council against the amount appropriated in the budget for CSDF for each county.
Also speaking, the Comptroller of the Project Management Committee (PMC) for Bomi County, Varney A. Dorley, confirmed that up to present, the county has not received its share of the County Social Development Fund (CSDF).
Mr. Dorley noted that the county is finding it extremely difficult to undertake development initiatives due to lack of funding from central government.
At the same time, a youth of Bomi County, Moses Saah, has expressed dismay over the slow pace of development under the administration of President George Manneh Weah in the county over the year.
According to Moses Saah, since the inception of the Weah administration, Bomi County has not received or benefited from the County Social Development Fund (CSDF).
He expressed frustration over the failure of delegates to sign the proposed resolution during the January 12, 2019 County Council Sitting, which ended in a deadlock.
Mr. Saah believes the failure of delegates to sign the resolution has further paralyzed the implementation of development projects in the county.
Meanwhile, Moses Saah has called on Superintendent Adama J. Robinson and the Bomi County Legislative Caucus to reorganize an urgent county sitting in order for delegates to finalize the proposed resolution.
For his part, the head of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in Bomi County, Boima Sando, said to some extent the development of the county has been okay, though there is a need for more funding.
Sando however believes the participation of the ordinary citizens is cardinal to the development of the county.
He admitted that there are some tangibles in terms of development across Bomi County.
He named the multipurpose hall in Tubmanburg, Gbalasua town hall, the water tower, the superintendent’s compound or residence constructed, bridges among others. He said funding for those projects were rightfully used.
The Bomi CSOs head admitted that he and team members attended the County Council Sitting in January 2019 as observers.
“The meeting was actually participatory because in the past it used to be unfortunate to have people here. The delegates to the sitting were trained by UNMIL Quick Impact to know their roles and responsibilities and their rights in terms of discussion. It gives the people the knowledge to be able to discuss in detail,” he said.
Sando added: “The meeting was well attended by delegates and the deliberations were really good.”
He further indicated that, “Unfortunately the sitting was scheduled by the caucus that the delegates should come in the hall at 10 a.m. and they (caucus members) came at 2:00 p.m., causing the delegates to roam around and become inpatient so that they didn’t derive a resolution.”
Sando cited the Budget Law, saying: “‘A decision from the county sitting should derive from a resolution that will be signed by the delegates and endorsed…’ which it did not work that day.” This, according to him, “caused the sitting to be postponed by the caucus chairman, Senator Morris Saytumah and the delegates were not very happy with this decision.”
According to him, they were told that in two weeks, the sitting would have taken place to finalize discussion, but the two weeks have elapsed since then.