As part of its decentralization approach in developing a comprehensive strategic plan for local government structures nationwide, the Ministry of Internal Affairs with support from the Liberia Decentralization and Local Development Programm has concluded a one day regional consultation in Gbarnga, Bong County to support the strategic planning process of the Ministry.
At the formal opening of the regional consultation, Deputy Internal Affairs for Planning and Research Peter Kemei pointed out that the forum was initiated to draw the inputs of the local leaders in formulating a plan that will reflect a realistic agenda of the Ministry for the next five years.
He indicated, the forum further seeks to involve the participation and giving ownership to local government officials, traditional leaders and civil society organizations in the Ministry’s planning for the purpose of strengthening both the strategy and its institutional sustainability.
The Deputy Internal Affairs Minister further stressed that the strategic plan of the Ministry is a key instrument to be used in embarking on physical decentralization, structural roles and responsibility among the various sub-divisions of the ministry including political decentralization , coordination and reporting mechanism to ensure administrative efficiency .
He exerted the strategy will also help guard the MIA in the implementation of plan which he believes will assist in the reinforcement of the County Development Agenda( CDA) to bring on board new priority areas employing the bottom to top approach to realize measurable impact in the implementation of its various programs and plans throughout the country.
Participants at the regional consultation also reviewed the mandate, mission and functions of the Ministry aimed at injecting new ideas and removing those that are no longer relevant to the existence of the Ministry or not clearly defined.
Key among recommendations advanced by the participants to be considered by the Ministry in its institutional reform process, were the need to review the Term Of Reference (TOR) of the Ministry taking to consideration the bottom to top approach which should be climaxed by a national consultative forum, they also advanced the budget planning process of the Ministry should start from the county level and ends up at the central office .
The third recommendation called for a clear definition of the role a statutory superintendent, district commissioner and traditional council in dealing with local government issues to avoid the overlapping of functions in the local government structures.
Participants also urged the Ministry of Internal Affairs to come with a clear policy on what constitutes towns and cities. They indicated policy of such will help government in the apportion of resources to undertake development based on deserving need of a particular community.
The regional consultation in Gbarnga brought together County Superintendents, selected district commissioners, clan and paramount chiefs from Bong, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, River Gee, Grand Bassa, Maryland, Nimba, Rivercess, and Sinoe Counties.
The MIA regional consultation process is been funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under its Liberia Decentralization and Local Development Programme.