The Liberia Decentralization Program II
Liberia’s 14 years of civil war not only destroyed the infrastructure, but also grounded public administration and delivery of services. The 2003 Accra Accord provided a framework for inclusive peace, political stability, recovery, and development. Liberia just completed implementing the first phase of the Decentralization Programme in 2019.
In the first phase, the project built its support around advocacy for the passage of the Local Government Act (LGA) of 2018, the rollout of an innovative Citizens’ Feedback Mechanism (CFM) and the establishment and sustainibility of service centers in each of the 15 counties and the launch and adoption of the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance in 2020. These centers provide at least 17 services to include birth certificates, drivers' licenses, vehicle registration, marriage licenses and business registration, and biometric identity cards. However, inadequate human and financial capacity, poor energy supply and internet connectivity, coupled with poor infrastructure is undermining the centers’ effectiveness and efficiency. Moreover, sign-off of critical documents continues to take place in Monrovia.
The LDSP Phase II (2020-2024) builds upon the reforms and gains recorded in phase one. It is meant to operationalize the newly gazetted Local Government Act (2018) focusing more broadly on interventions geared toward its implementation. Phase II is also designed to support and facilitate the implementation of the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Government (NPDLG). Under the current governance system, revenue collection, budgeting and expenditure are all under the jurisdiction of the central government. This must change to enhance inclusive governance and promote financial sustainability for local government structures. Strengthening County Service Centers (CSCs) capacity to deliver services effectively and efficiently at the sub-national levels must engender the crafting of legislations and policies to sustain decentralization. Achieving this requires the promulgation of laws and policies that promote revenue collection and sharing at the sub-national levels.
It deliberately targets decentralization of administrative and political governance in Liberia and is implemented in tandem with the fiscal decentralization component implemented by the MFDP and is aligned to the peace building and reconciliation processes, Public Sector Reform Agenda, Civil Service Reform (CSR) and the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). Results expected to accrue from the Liberia Decentralization Support Programme (LDSP) Phase II (2020-2024) are inclusive governance, provision of basic services and allocation of authority and resources at the most appropriate levels of government.
To support the strengthening of government decentralization efforts and improve the quality of the delivery of services to all Liberians and residents across the 15 Counties.
1. Strengthen management capacity of the service centers to help them become fully operational.
2. Support the implementation of the Local Government Act and the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance, to ensure fiscal decentralization.
3. Support capacity development of civil society organizations to enable them engage with local leaders and; ensure that service centers are accessible to vulnerable and marginalized groups including women, people with disabilities etc.
1. Local Government Act implemented to enhance participation of citizens in decision-making and service delivery.
2. Local government institutions and services are fully devolved.
3. County service centers adequately equipped for effective service delivery.
4. Legal and regulatory reforms to sustain decentralization. 5. Service center management, coordination, and monitoring strengthened.
What have we accomplished so far?
• The centers provide the only opportunity for citizens and residents to access key services including payment of taxes without travelling to Monrovia. It reduces the stress of commuting long distances under horrendous conditions to the Capital, thus reducing unnecessary transportation costs; the establishment of the CSCs has helped the government to understand the complex issues it faces in advancing the decentralization policy and serve as a source of revenue generation for the government.
• The establishment of four County Treasuries in Nimba, Bong, Margibi, and Grand Bassa Counties has reduced payment time to local vendors.
• A critical activity of the LGA implementation plan is communicating change through massive public information, education and Communication (IEC) activities cutting across the entire LGA. As a result, citizens of Liberia and stakeholders (men and women) now understand the benefits and obligations under the LGA and its implementation processes, and are aware, motivated and participate in implementation of the LGA reforms.
• UNDP in collaboration with the government of Liberia designed, developed, tested, deployed and is piloting a Citizens' Feedback Mechanism (CFM) platform in 5 counties (Bomi, Grand Bassa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and Sinoe) and situated at the County Service Centers in the five counties. The CFM is a mobile and online platform designed to receive, verify, compile, analyze and channel citizens’ perceptions of public service standards to the various Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) for feedback and action in real time. Citizens can access information on key services offered by the country’s 112 Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) and on the implementation of the government’s flagship medium term development plan, the Pro Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development and provide feedback on the quality of the services.
• A draft local government gender-sensitive and gender responsive policy developed to be used in planning and executing all programs and projects. It will curtail the political, social and cultural marginalization of women, children and persons with disabilities.
LBR-Min. of Internal Affairs
SWEDISH INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION (SIDA)
UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PRO
UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (USAID)
DELIVERY IN PREVIOUS YEARS