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Decentralization, CSC take center stage in Gbarnga

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The National Decentralization Program and the dedication of the County Service Center for Bong County added extra impetus to a one-day meeting held on Monday April 25, 2016 in Gbarnga, Bong County during a review of the government’s developmental roadmap, National Agenda For Transformation.

At the dedication of the Bong County’s Service Center, the third to be dedicated since the launch of the program in 2015, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the center was intended to bring the government closer to the people. The Service Center is expected to provide 21 services, including processing of birth certificates, driver licenses, land deeds and payment of taxes.

The policy was part of the National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance which was adopted by the cabinet and launched by the government in 2012 as a legal framework upon which De-concentration could be achieved.

The policy brought together 12 government ministries headed by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and two international agencies led by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to ensure that the policy is implemented.

Several high profile officials of government and foreign dignitaries including House Speaker Alex Tyler, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor and Governance Commission Chairman Dr. Amos C. Sawyer graced the dedicatory ceremony.

Speaking at the AFT meeting, Dr. Sawyer advised that the country’s road to decentralization will be delayed if the National Decentralization and Local Government Act is not passed on time and the necessary mechanism put in place for full implementation. Dr. Sawyer said sometime there is a tendency to reverse the gains made to democratize the country.

The former interim President also observed there is still space in the leadership of the country and appealed to the National Legislature to consider the timely passage of the Local Government Act that is expected to address some of the contentious issues in the governance system.

Reviewing the Agenda For Transformation as regards the work of the Governance Commission, Dr. Sawyer highlighted the significance of the Land Rights Act which he described as “the soul of the government’s reform program.”

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