The Deputy Minister for Fiscal Affairs at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Dr. James Kollie, has called on his colleagues in government to embrace the government’s decentralization initiatives to adequately serve the Liberian people.
It is now time, he said, for officials to disabuse their minds about the process, and join the effort to leave behind a fruitful legacy for President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The MFDP official spoke at the launch of the National De-concentration Platform in Gbarnga, Bong County last week.
Dr. Kollie noted that decentralizing the governance system has been an ongoing challenge in the country, and there is no better time than now to ‘take the bull by the horns’.
“Decentralizing the government is about making our governance responsive and accountable,” he said. “People do not have to go far to the center for redress.”
Dr. Kollie said Services should be as close as to the people so that approval of small ticket items does not have to be sought from afar.
“When the people ask questions, they need answers, and these answers have to be available as close as possible,” he stressed.
In order for government to achieve its decentralization goal, which President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf eloquently articulated, he said, “I am urging those of us who are her lieutenants, who have been privileged to have the opportunity to serve with her, to demonstrate our commitment to making this happen.”
Dr. Kollie indicated that though President Sirleaf will make the big policy pronouncements and demonstrate the commitment to the extent that she is willing to give up some of her powers that the Constitution has given her, her lieutenants should also be willing to do the same at their Ministries and Agencies.
“For this to be successful we need to disabuse our minds, knowing that this governance process is not about us, but the country,” he declared.
“I think we are under obligation to ensure that we do the right thing for the country. And so decentralizing our governance system and making it more responsive to the people, even at the grassroots level, is [a key, part of our jobs],” he said.
Dr. Kollie admonished: “We should not stand in the way. Whatever we can do to begin with the decentralization will require us losing some of our authority and powers.”
Dr. Kollie made mention of what he described as nuances and complications as well as challenges that would need financial resources and human capacities to accomplish the decentralization process.
“With this launch today,” he said, “the actual work starts tomorrow; I beg my colleagues and other stakeholders to make this happen.”
“History,” Dr. Kollie stated, “will be kind to us because we’re taking practical steps to address the challenge of decentralizing our governance system.”
Dr. Kollie stood in for Finance, Development and Planning Minister, Amara Konneh, who is co-chair on the NDP, and presently out of the country.