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Big Nat’l Confab opens in Gbarnga today

A conference which is expected to set the stage for the de-concentration of critical and vital government services here is scheduled to kick-off today in the central Liberian town of Gbarnga, Bong County.

The 3-days meeting in Gbarnga will provide the first platform for the launch of the long awaited decentralization of government’s bureaucracy.

President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is expected to perform the official launching on Wednesday February 18, 2015 in Gbarnga.

Already, about 12 government ministries including the Ministry of Health and two other agencies will form part of the initial decentralization process.

“The de-concentration will enable us spread critical and vital services throughout the country, rather than concentrating them in Monrovia,” Internal Affairs Minister Morris Dukuly, whose ministry is heading the process told journalists during a pre-media briefing over the weekend.

He said initial services to be decentralized include the issuance of drivers licenses, traditional marriage certificates, the payment of government revenues among others.

The de-concentration of these services, he said, will help reduce the cost of government operations, and remove red tips.

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However, he said the process will also help citizens living in other parts of the country get easy access to government services rather than traveling from long distances to Monrovia just to obtain those services.

Mr. Dukuly further noted that the process will cut down waste and redefines the roles of county superintendents, who will now assume a new nomenclature as county chief executives.

He said county superintendents have been asked to make available 250 acres of land for the construction of decentralized government agencies.

Meanwhile, part of the side attractions for the Gbarnga conference, Mr. Dukuly added would be the re-orientation of new and old superintendents, the honoring of chiefs and induction of new ones.

For his part, the National Director of the government’s Decentralization Secretariat, Dr. Roosevelt Jayjay said the Gbarnga platform is the implementation of plans reached to actualize the government’s decentralization program.

“The President will launch the Platform,” he said, “but the basic skills of the Superintendents will be looked at during the conference.”

He said the conference will also look at production initiates in rural areas that would fuel the economic activities in those areas.

Several key government agencies are participating in this conference including the General Services Agency or GSA, the Liberia Revenue Agency or LRA among others.

Other agencies to be de-concentrated include the integrity commissions-the General Auditing Commission and the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission.

The Decentralization program is the brainchild of the Governance Commission with massive support from the United Nations Development Program or UNDP and the government of Liberia.

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