Government officials and development partners will assess progress in implementing the Local Government Act-LGA, with a particular focus on the Revenue Distribution Act, which deals with financial decentralization under Phase 2 of the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP). ing.
An inter-ministerial committee meeting, chaired by Home Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf and held at a local hotel in Monrovia on June 6, 2023, will identify challenges and constraints hampering decentralization reform, find remedies, and pace has been the center of discussion. On how to move forward in current realities and emerging decentralization issues.
Minister Sirleaf urged key stakeholders present at the meeting to recommit themselves to taking appropriate steps and measures to address challenges and gaps in the implementation of the decentralization programme.
Representatives from Sweden, Ireland, the European Union, the African Development Bank, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the UNDP discussed issues surrounding fiscal decentralization with government officials and reiterated their commitment to support the country’s decentralization process. .
Issues raised during the meeting included appropriate allocation/allocation of budget and financial resources to sustainably support service and human capital delivery. Improved coordination. Digitization of services at county service centers. Relinquish control of the signing authority for critical service documents in Monrovia and transfer it to the County Service Center (CSC). The same is true of the role of Liberians, particularly those in rural areas, who take the lead, especially in the decentralization process.
UNDP and its partners are currently developing the Revenue Distribution Act Regulations in response to Article 10.1 of the Act, which requires the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP) to issue regulations on the schedule and manner of revenue transfers to local governments. is supporting Government and sub-municipalities.
At the interagency meeting, county councils recognized the efforts being made by the government to advance the decentralization agenda and process, particularly in the area of legal and regulatory reform, and noted the achievement of progressive milestones. also recognized the establishment of .
However, Partners believes that the government should show political will to expedite the implementation process, including the transfer of revenues to local and sub-municipal governments and the use of such funds in construction in a transparent and accountable manner. stressed the need to strengthen effective institution.
“This regulation will provide greater transparency and accountability for the use of funds, which is key in building effective local institutions. We urge the verification process to be expedited so that a final decision can be made,” said Louis Koechpen, UNDP Resident Representative in Liberia, during the meeting.
Kukpen also said that county service centers (CSCs) are a symbol of decentralization in Liberia, a foundation for social cohesion between the people and the government through service provision, as well as a source of domestic resource mobilization. He also pointed out that
However, he said that despite the influx of domestic revenues from service delivery at the local level, CSCs face resource constraints that occasionally hinder their operational efficiency, which is due to the limited and timely availability of resources from the state. It was made worse by outside spending, he said. It has put pressure on the central government through budget transfers that have hampered service delivery and undermined public confidence in the CSC.
“Therefore, I encourage the government to consider increasing the budget allocation to CSC pending the implementation of the Revenue Sharing Act, which requires retaining 40% of all revenue generated for CSC operations. We believe this is a more sustainable way of addressing the persistent resource challenges facing CSC,” said the UNDP representative in Liberia.
Kukpen also said the CSC’s approval and signing authority remains a challenge for service delivery at the subnational level, where most ministries, commissions (MACs) do not have the authority to sign or approve documents at their respective centres. He stressed that this problem continues. It impedes the provision of services and increases transaction costs for the public, as the cost of obtaining documents in Monrovia for signatories is usually borne by the public.
“Experiencing such challenges eight years after the establishment of CSC undermines the concept of a decentralized platform. , we must collectively address these concerns,” Koukpen concluded.
Key actions agreed during the deliberations included expediting the review of revenue sharing laws and regulations, strengthening coordination among MACs through holding regular coordination meetings, addressing CSC approval constraints due to digital innovation, and revising CSC staff. This includes resolving personnel-related issues related to It will be coordinated through the Civil Service Office.