The European Union (EU) has announced an award of €1 million to the Liberian government for decentralization services at County Service Centers in counties under the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) over the past two years, a Ministry of Internal Affairs release has said.
The EU said it is awarding the government with the cash contribution for what it described as a comprehensive data collection on services delivered, as well as collected revenue and increased service delivery at the Service Centers.
According to the release, the EU made the announcement on its social media page shortly after a visiting EU delegation made a fact-finding mission on two of the Service Centers.
The mission was headed by Ms. Aude Guignard, European Union’s Country Desk Officer for Liberia based in Brussels, Belgium.
The fact-finding mission over the weekend visited County Service Centers in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, and Cestos, River Cess County. Other members of the EU delegation included Madam Julija Valentaite and David Palacios.
The release quoted the EU as saying that the award will form part of its new budget support for the next two fiscal years.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Internal Affairs Minister Varney A. Sirleaf has described the EU’s announcement as welcoming.
Minister Sirleaf said the award is a significant mark of President George Weah’s commitment to continue with the implementation of the Liberia Decentralization and Local Governance Programs under the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs is the lead agency responsible for the implementation of the LDSP.
Minister Sirleaf attributed the success of the concept of County Service Centers to the total involvement and ownership of the Liberian people in the counties and county leadership.
He thanked the EU for its support to the decentralization program since its inception, because the government looks forward to further cooperation.
The County Service Centers, a one-stop shop for the issuance of documentation services relating to certificates, permits, and licenses, is part of the National De-concentration Platform which is primarily intended to bring services closer to the people at the same quality and cost as they are in Monrovia.
Even though a local government law was recently signed, one of the major achievements of the Decentralization Program was the opening of 15 County Service Centers from where a total of 65,446 citizens have obtained various services.
Implementation of the LDSP is funded by the EU, the Swedish Government, United States Agency International Development (USAID), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), and the United Nations Development Program.