The Liberian government and the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) have verbally clashed over latter’s latest report citing the lack of logistics as big problem challenging the effectiveness of County Service Centers here.
Reacting to IREDD’s report that surfaced at a dialogue Wednesday, 20 February in Monrovia, Assistant Internal Affairs Minister for Technical Services Lusene Saryon argues that the report being cited was done a year ago and the ministry had taken actions to remedy the issues raised then.
Assistant Minister Saryon accuses IREDD of presenting last year’s report to a panel at a dialogue on Wednesday as if it their current report.
“This is where we have problem as a Ministry. So I will like to request that you go back on the field and do more assessment,” Minster Saryon tells IREDD.
“That report was done some time last year and it was sent to the Ministry for investigation. And the report was turned over to me to recommend what to be done. We would have loved for you to go back because from last year August up till now, a lot has been done,” Mr. Saryon says.
He however agrees that there are challenges, but insists that a lot have been done over the past months.
According to IREDD, lack of logistical problems remain a big challenge to the effectiveness in service delivery at the Service Centers in the counties here.
IREDD Project Supervisor Mercy Sackey says staff mobility is greatly hindered, and there are constant lack of internet, computers, electricity, vehicles and office supplies, among others.According to Sackey, these things hamper the smooth operation of the centers.
The report was presented Wednesday, 20 February at the Corina Hotel in Sinkor, during a one day policy dialogue under theme: “Citizen’s Feedback on Service Delivery at the County Service Centers.”
Madam Sackey explains that a large portion of county residents are yet to grab the decentralization concept because information dissimilation is poor and awareness on the availability of services is variously concentrated in cities and towns hosting or closer to the hubs.
She says it leaves hard – to – reach communities with little or no contact with the centers.She continues that the County Service Centers also lack human capacity on the management and operation of some basic tools required to go about their work.
“Thus far, services in high demand are not fully accessed at the CSCs. While application is made in the counties, users have to wait longer than stipulated time frame in order to have processing of documents completed at the Monrovia Central Offices,” IREDD says.
Further speaking at the program, Madam Sackey indicates that the feedback from service users points out that Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) agents most often do not provide to them genuine reasons as to why certain services are not accessible at the hubs.
“Accountability issues also prevail across the CSCs. MACs agents do not feel obligated to their coordinators. They would rather operate, to a greater extent by direct orders from their bosses in Monrovia,” she observes.She complains that this is affecting reporting timelines.
The one day dialogue brought together government officials, lawmakers, youth groupings, international partners and civil society organizations, among others.
By Ben P. Wesee — Edited by Winston W. Parley