President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf says the over-centralization of decision making is a major cause for the slow pace of development in the country.
She said the government will exert every effort to ensure that total decentralization of government’s decisions is achieved.
Liberia News Agency (LINA) Margibi County Correspondent said President Sirleaf made the statement over the weekend in Kakata, Margibi County, when she dedicated the Margibi County Service Center (MCSC).
She also observed that having realized the over-centralization of government’s functions, her administration has now embarked on the decentralization process by opening more county service centers.
“Government’s decentralization program started when the Governance Commission Chairman, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, initiated the process, which has today come to fruition.”
Dr. Amos Sawyer and his colleagues have been the major driving force behind the decentralization program and therefore the government must recognize them “for their tireless efforts,” said the President.
She said the program consists of economic, political and administrative components and other essential elements that will ensure that government is brought to the doorsteps of the people.
President Sirleaf also mentioned that the program started with the County Development Fund (CDF) and the Social Development Fund (SDF), which enable each county to receive direct budgetary support to their County Development Agenda (CDA) as well as the social development drives.
She said in furtherance of the exercise, a draft of the Local Government Act has been submitted to the National Legislature for enactment into law, which will make way for the decentralization of government activities.
Further, President Sirleaf said due to the significant nature of the Decentralization Program, it is only implementing the de-concentration component of the program pending the enactment into law of the Local Government Act before the National Legislature.
She called on Margibians to take advantage of the Service Center and utilize it for their own good, adding, “You must take ownership of the center and avoid those vices that have the tendency to spoil it.”
She also seized the opportunity to commend the European Union (EU) and the Kingdom of Sweden for their total commitment and support, which is making the Decentralization Program a reality.
Making remarks, the Swedish State Secretary for International Development Cooperation, Ms. Ulrika Modeer, described decentralization as a very good form of governance.
Madam Modeer said that the Swedish Government has approved 158 million euros for Liberia for the next five years.
She said of the amount, a significant portion will go towards supporting government’s decentralization programs.