Monrovia – Liberia governance structure for more than a century has been centralized. In a move to divert from this aged old method, the governments of Liberia and its partners have initiated several reform programs aimed at improving governance at the lowest level.
Report by Al-Varney Rogers al.rogersfrontpageafricaonline.com
To further boost this effort, on Tuesday, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the government of Liberia (GoL), represented by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Governance Commission, formally signed a memorandum of cooperation for the implementation of Local Empowerment for Government Inclusion and Transparency (LEGIT) project.
LEGIT is a USAID-funded project that is supporting the GoL to improve participatory governance and service delivery through decentralization.
The project works closely with MIA and GC at the national level to further strengthen the capacity of the GoL as it implements Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance.
At the sub-national level, LEGIT works with local administrations and civil society organizations to improve service delivery and citizens’ participation in three counties- Bong, Nimba and Grand Gedeh and three cities- Gbarnga, Ganta and Zwedru.
The MoC lays out the nature of technical services that USAID will provide to MIA and GC, as these agencies take the lead in the implementation of the GoL decentralization agenda.
Under the MoC, USAID will support MIA and GC to undertake policy and procedural reforms at the national and sub-national levels.
These reforms will be jointly determined and subsequently outlined as separate performance Improvement Roadmaps for MIA and GC.
The PIRs will identify key priority areas for capacity strengthening, and the technical assistance to be provided by the LEGIT Project.
On behalf of the United States Government, USAID Mission Director, Dr. Anthony S. Chan, expressed appreciation for the initiatives of MIA and GC in leading the GoL’s efforts on decentralization.
Dr. Chan encouraged the MIA and the GC to sustain advocacy for the passage of the local government Act that will clearly establish the legal framework for decentralization in Liberia.
“As the Local Government Act is still to be passed, the legal framework is insufficient to provide the necessary guidance for decentralization to be fully and effectively implemented. I would thus encourage you to sustain your active advocacy and engagement with the Senate for the passage of this Act,” Dr. Chan said.
“I am extremely delighted to join you today for the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation between the government of Liberia-through the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the governance Commission and the United States government through USAID and its Local Empowerment for government Inclusion and Transparency activity or LEGIT.”
The USAID Mission Director said, “The Memorandum of Cooperation is a concrete expression of our commitment at USAID to help Liberia achieve the ultimate goal of decentralization environment.”
“This MOC is also a concrete expression of your government’s commitment to improve local governance and service delivery to its citizens. We acknowledge that both your agencies have worked very closely with USAID-LEGIT since its inception. We see this as symbolic of your ownership of the initiatives you will be implementing with LEGIT’s technical assistance are realized.”
In separate remarks, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Dr. Henrique F. Tokpa USAID for its support for decentralization in Liberia, and promised to continue working with USAID in implementing the LEGIT Project.
“For most of you here who are not originally from this part of the country, this means a lot for us,” Dr. Tokpa said.
Tokpa furthered: “A lot has been done over the years, we must thank the President for moving Liberia from an imperial Presidency, which give authority to county officials, thus moving from a centralized government; we look forward for the implementation of the decentralization process.”