The Chairman of the Governance Commission, Atty. Garrison Yealue, has called on local government leaders and civil society to push harder with joint efforts to honestly implement local government-related laws, especially the recently passed law for sustaining fiscal decentralization and revenue sharing mechanisms.
The chairman made the remarks on Thursday, June 1, 2023, at the region three dialogue held in Kakata, Margibi County to popularize the Revenue Sharing Law. Chairman Yealue stressed the significance of honestly implementing the revenue sharing laws, emphasizing that by doing so, the country would witness the immense benefits that come with it. The crux of its application lies in the implementation of a percentage sharing system, where local governments would receive a fair share of the resources and revenues generated.
Chairman Yealue said, already, we are experiencing an incredible transformation unveiling itself. Local governments will soon begin proactively identifying and mobilizing resources. They will also partner with local businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors to fuel economic growth. With increased revenue streams, they will invest in education, healthcare, and infrastructure projects.
The percentage sharing system according to him has proven to be a game-changer in other countries in the region and Liberia is no exception. He said as revenue increases, so do the funds allocated to local governments. Local authorities will utilize these resources to tackle pressing issues specific to their counties. The people will experience tangible improvements in their quality of life, fostering a sense of pride and belonging.
The chairman reminded participants that the concept of fiscal decentralization was not new but, according to him, “A Vision for Local Empowerment” that carries the potential to transform the country. He believed that by empowering local governments financially, they could take charge of their development initiatives and effectively address the specific needs of their communities.
The revenue sharing mechanism aims to allocate a certain percentage of funds to the local governments based on their contribution to resource mobilization for development. This would encourage local leaders to proactively seek out avenues for revenue generation, boosting economic growth and reducing dependence on external aid.
The Chairman in his remark, acknowledged the challenges of implementing such a system. He said it required trust and accountability from all parties involved. To address this, he emphasized that it is more than a welcome effort to see the establishment alongside an oversight committee comprising individuals at the local government level, civil society, and ordinary citizens selected under the county-council arrangement to play a very important role in its administration.
According to him, collectively building trust and accountability will help the County Council ensure transparency in revenue collection, allocation, and monitor the honest implementation of the revenue sharing law. He emphasized building a culture of integrity and accountability among local government leaders, accordingly, would lay the foundation for a sustainable fiscal decentralization model.
He said decentralization has helped bring about a ripple effect in our local government development initiatives. As the news spread about empowering citizens in the counties, we feel optimism permeating at the county level for more work on local government development. He noted that local government leaders see the potential in the governance’s vision, and citizens recognize that revenue sharing would enable them to make tangible changes within their communities. It is an opportunity for true local empowerment of citizens to make decisions that affect their lives both at the local and national levels.
The Chairman then cautioned participants that the revenue sharing law not only transforms the lives of citizens but also redefines the relationship between local governments, civil society, and the central government. It fosters trust, transparency, and accountability among all stakeholders. The oversight of county leaders, including the county council, plays a crucial role in ensuring the continued success of the mechanism.
The dialogue is part of a series of engagements held regionally among local government officials, civil society members, international partners, organizations, and public sector leaders on the Revenue Sharing Mechanism. It promotes the ideas of the Revenue Sharing law and develops the capacity of local communities to manage their fiscal affairs and take ownership of development initiatives through an inclusive governance system in Liberia.