The Government of Liberia and its partners over the weekend broke ground for the construction of a County Service Center (CSC) in Cestos City, RiverCess County.
County Service Center (CSC) is part of the National Deconcentration Platform, which is primarily intended to bring services closer to the people. It is a one-stop shop where documentation services relating to permits, licenses and certifications are offered at same quality and cost in Monrovia.
The construction of the RiverCess CSC which is expected to be completed within three months is being sponsored by UNMIL Quick-Impact Project and contribution from the Liberian Government. Several high profile guests from donors of the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) formed part of the ground breaking ceremony. Among them were H.E Lena Nordstrom, Ambassador Ordinary & Plenipotentiary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden, Dr. Kamil Kamaluddeen, Country Director of UNDP and Madame Emma Sundblad, Charge’d’affaires of the Delegation of the European Union to Liberia, representatives of the UN Mission in Liberia as well as government officials from various Ministries, Agencies and Commission(MACs).
Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Nordstorm said development is what each and every citizen can do and it never comes about by miracle or by any donor. “It comes from the fact from having a government and ministries who are responsible; development comes from private business actors who are serious about what they do, and it comes from citizens who are active but who are also demanding,” Amb. Nordstrom emphasized.
For her part, Madame Sundblah of the EU reconfirmed the EU’s support to Liberia’s decentralization program which she said brings government closer to the people and gives people the chance to hold government accountable. She stressed that the decentralization program can only be supported by the EU and other donors based on the involvement of Liberia.
She said it also depends on the National Legislature that needs to pass the Local Government Act which will create the legal frame work for decentralization. Mr. BornfreeAdile, a Civil Affairs Officer who represented UNMIL said the Quick-Impact project supports the government’s commitment in bringing services closer to the people. He praised the CSC project because according to him, it promotes inclusive participation in local governance and access to opportunities.
Giving an overview of the project, Dr. Roosevelt Jayjay, National Program Director of the Decentralization Secretariat, put the cost of the construction at US$58,000.00. US$48,000.00 of which is from UNMIL’s Quick-Impact project, while the remaining US$10,000.00 will be contributed by the Liberian Government.
He disclosed that upon completion, the CSC will provide varieties of services including the issuance of driver’s license, marriage certificates, business registration, land deeds, birth certificates and psychosocial services amongst others. The CSC building will contain 14 rooms including 12 offices, a awaiting room and conference hall, etc.
Speaking on behalf of Government, Deputy Internal Affairs Minister for Administration, Hon. Varney A. Sirleaf thanked UNMIL, especially its Deputy SRSG Antonio Vigilante who was instrumental in the approval of the project including construction works in other counties.
Hon. Sirleaf noted that the CSC project is another means of taking care of Liberians from across the country in order to avoid violence and tension from the people against the government. “If we take care of our people, if we serve our citizens, we will cut down money that we spent on people involving in violence,” asserting that violence comes about when people are dissatisfied.
Hon. Sirleaf called for partners’ support towards RiverCess County, noting that the CSC will contribute to the development needs in the county. “RiverCess County is backward; we need to give support to RiverCess because they are backward.” He also encouraged locals to take ownership of the project.
Meanwhile, Rivercess County Superintendent, Matthew Daniels has expressed excitement that his county could get a County Service Center. Speaking in tears, Hon. Daniels called on Government and partners to do more to improve the living condition of the people of RiverCess. He said the County has many development needs, stressing that the dream of the people of the county has come true and also encouraged his kinsmen to embrace change regardless their personal feelings.
He promised to work diligently in order to achieve the success of the CSC while committing that his administration will use every penny given the county for the intended purpose rather than pocketing it. The groundbreaking in RiverCess followed similar groundbreaking in Tubmanburg, Bomi County on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.
Implementation of the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) is funded by the European Union, Swedish Government, USAID, UNMIL and UNDP. The release concluded.