(Monrovia, June 6, 2023) The Government of Liberia, through its coordinating institutions, reaffirmed its commitment to implementing its decentralization program aimed at empowering citizens living in its sub-political divisions, strengthening local communities, and ensuring effective service delivery across the country. The government, led by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and co-facilitated by the Governance Commission, convened an inter-ministerial meeting on decentralization. This gathering brought together various government ministries, agencies, commissions, and international partners, all with the aim of addressing challenges and reaffirming their commitment to the decentralization process.
The meeting took place at the Royal Hotel in Monrovia, within the walls of a grand conference hall. Representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Labor, Land Authority, Liberia Revenue Authority, the Governance Commission, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Ministry of Transport, and other key governmental bodies were present. International partners, including the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the European Union, USAID, SIDA, Iris Aid, the African Development Bank, and other donor organizations, also joined the conversation, emphasizing their commitment to supporting Liberia's decentralization efforts.
The conference room buzzed with anticipation as participants settled into their seats. The atmosphere was one of collaboration and determination, as everyone recognized the importance of decentralization in improving the lives of Liberian citizens. The opening remarks were delivered by the Minister of Internal Affairs, who expressed the government's strong belief in the power of decentralized decision-making and service delivery.
The Minister emphasized that decentralization was not just a theoretical concept but a practical approach to bringing power and decision-making closer to the people. He highlighted the need for government ministries, agencies, and commissions to actively engage in the process, ensuring that their activities were decentralized to enhance service delivery and build necessary infrastructure.
Following the Minister's remarks, the chairman of the Governance Commission spoke about the need for continuous engagement with citizens across the country to strengthen their understanding of decentralization and the political legal frameworks. He disclosed that the commission is presently engaged in a collaborative nationwide civic engagement program with the UNDP, conducting a month-long program with local government leaders to deepen their understanding of the Revenue Sharing Laws. He called on partners to continue their support, stating that Liberia will witness remarkable progress in its decentralization efforts and gains in the near future. Communities across the country would experience improved access to education, healthcare, and infrastructure. Local leaders would emerge empowered to make decisions that positively impact their constituents' lives. The people of Liberia would begin to feel a greater sense of ownership and pride in their communities, knowing that their voices mattered and that the government was working to bring power to the people.
Ministries and agencies shared their progress, challenges, and plans for further decentralization activities. The Ministry of Education spoke about efforts to empower local school boards, enabling them to make decisions that directly impacted their communities' educational needs. The Ministry of Health highlighted initiatives to establish community health centers and clinics, ensuring access to quality healthcare for all Liberians, regardless of their location.
The African Development Bank representative reiterated efforts underway to provide more support in improving roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure in rural areas. Collectively, the partners recognized the need for well-connected transportation networks to facilitate economic growth and enhance the livelihoods of local communities. These commitments ignited a spirit of collaboration and inspired other ministries and agencies to brainstorm innovative ideas for their respective sectors.
Throughout the meeting, international partners lauded Liberia's commitment to decentralization and pledged continued support. They highlighted success stories from other countries that had undergone similar processes, sharing valuable lessons learned and best practices. These insights encouraged Liberian officials, strengthening their resolve to overcome challenges and achieve their decentralization goals.
The inter-ministerial meeting concluded with a renewed sense of purpose and a collective commitment to action. The government ministries, agencies, and commissions left the meeting with clear mandates and targets for decentralization. They understood that decentralization was not a one-time event but a continuous process that required consistent effort and collaboration.