In an effort to support government’s ongoing decentralization initiative, the European Union (EU) through the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), has donated 10 vehicles to the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) for use by the decentralization program.
The vehicles were purchased at a cost of US$183,000 under the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) fulfilling a commitment made by the EU during the formal launch of the Liberian Government’s decentralization scheme in Gbarnga, Bong County in February this year.
Eight of the vehicles, according to the UNDP, will be used in Lofa, Rivercess, Grand Kru, River Gee, Bomi, Gbarpolu, Grand Gedeh, and Maryland counties by the local authorities to strengthen the process, while two will be assigned at the central office in Monrovia for “project implementations.”
The EU Ambassador Madam Tiina Intelmann made the presentation of the vehicles yesterday, at the EU Headquarters in Monrovia.
Madam Intelmann encouraged each of the recipients to use the vehicles for the intended purpose which is to boost the decentralization process in the rural communities.
“EU’s decision to contribute to the decentralization process,” according to Madam Intelmann, is to reduce the challenges faced by the government in implementing most of its policies.
“The government is facing serious challenges as it relates to decentralizing her reform processes in the counties, so these vehicles will aid in the smooth implementation of the process, the EU Ambassador noted.
She added that the EU is in partnership with the UNDP to support the Government of Liberia in all the reform processes by ensuring that the government achieves its developmental agendas.
Madame Intelmann disclosed that the decentralization policy was key factor in process since it will empower the citizens, because the GOL has a long way to go in achieving developmental agendas.
MIA Deputy Minister for Administration, Varney Sirleaf described the donation as “timely and a great help to the government particularly with reference to the ongoing decentralization process.”
Deputy Minister Sirleaf expressed the MIA’s gratitude to the EU and the UNDP for the support which, according to him, will help the government to fully carry out the decentralization process that is so dear to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s heart.”
He also stressed the need for county officials to properly maintain their respective assigned vehicles by taking.
For his part, UNDP Representative Cleophas Torori, reaffirmed his organization’s support to the government, stating that the UNDP will continue to work in close consultation with the government to ensure that the process is well implemented in the counties.
Lofa County Assistant Superintendent for Fiscal Affairs, Arthur Bestmen, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, praised EU and the UNDP for their support.
According to him, the vehicles were donated at the right time, “because a majority of the counties are lacking vehicles to provide services.”
“Some of our counties have areas that are hard to reach, so with the support given to the local authorities, we will do better to ensure that the decentralization program achieves its objectives,” Mr. Arthur said.