The National Youth Movement for Transparent Election (NAYMOTE), in a one-day dialogue with residents of the Rock Hill Community in Paynesville, outside Monrovia, has said the passage of the Local Government Act will give legal backing to the government’s decentralization efforts.
Eddie Jarwolo, executive director of NAYMOTE, said “The local government act is good for Liberia, because it will help to build the capacity of local leaders; and we hope it will be passed into law before elections in October.”
The one-day dialogue was held on Friday, April 21, at the Kollah Foundation Hall in the Rock Hill Community.
Director Jarwolo said the passage of the Local Government Act will help to address some of the issues hampering the development of Liberia, including corruption, because money leaving Monrovia for rural districts can be tampered with.
He explained to the participants that if passed, district residents will have direct access to funds allotted by the government and decide how to spend it at district and community levels.
“They will select their project and the government will support it, because the money will be there for the local government,” he said.
“This will bring services closer to the people, like the county service centers that are established in eight of the 15 counties. These eight county service centers are providing 21 services to the people from the local level, including birth certificates, deed registration, drivers’ licenses, marriage certificates among others, that were previously provided in Montserrado County.”
According to him, the various county service centers are generating more money for the government, especially the ones located in Grand Bassa, Nimba, Bong and Margibi.
Meanwhile, Jarwolo said many local officials are afraid to speak up on issues, “because they are not elected and therefore cannot support people in the opposition. They are even afraid to openly make decisions in support of the opposition as Liberia goes to elections this year. We need the opportunity so that all these local leaders will be elected and be able to make their own decisions even during elections. The local government will give people the time to serve their community, as the assembly will almost provide something like legislators at the county level.”
He said when enacted, the Local Government Act will promote popular participation and local initiatives, especially in the provision of public goods and services, and will contribute to the need for greater accountability and transparency in the management of public affairs.
Jarwolo said NAYMOTE-Liberia is making progress in its advocacy for the passage of the Local Government Act, which “will provide equal access to social and economic opportunities and human wellbeing between Monrovia and the rest of Liberia.”