The National Youth Movement for Transparent Election or NAYMOTE, has ended a daylong natural resources management coalition meeting with stakeholders from two districts in Maryland County, southeast Liberia.
With focus on natural resources management, the forum allows citizens advance recommendations that could be crafted into law to govern usage of county development fund presented every year by the government. The meeting conducted in the Pleebo City Hall on Friday, 22 September brought together representatives from women group, youth and elders, among others.
Participants advance six-count recommendations on the usage of the CDF, among others, calling on their lawmakers to attend county sittings and sign resolutions derived at such sittings, the need to conduct district development meeting that will enable them to earmark development projects, and that delegates attending county sitting should be selected.
They also call for selection of presiding officer for county sitting, and every district in the county should have bank account where development funds can be deposited after county sitting for subsequent execution of development projects. George Sartee, chairman of Zone 4B Pleebo in an interview with the New Dawn expresses delight for the forum which he describes as interesting.
He laments that he has been fighting to be part of such forum to have his say in the county decision making, particularly finance and development.Sartee says the exercise enlightens his mind about the CDF, vowing to share the information with fellow citizens in his community. Other participants and observers who spoke to this paper laud NAYMOTE for the initiative and stress that if citizens would have say in the natural resources management of their respective districts and counties, Liberia will get on par with countries in the sub-region.
The Government of Liberia annually allocates US$200,000 to each county for development purposes, but citizens across the country complain of misapplication and lack of transparency, alleging that those attending county sittings are selected by local officials and lawmakers without their input.
For his part, NAYMOTE regional coordinator Lawrence Myers, says the Natural Resources Management Coalition supported by USAID Liberia and other partners aims to improve the management, governance and participation of citizens in the administration of County Development Funds.
He explains that the program came as a result of citizens’ complains of marginalization during the process, noting that as such, laws governing the CDF should be reviewed and amended in the interest of the majority.
By George K. Momo, Maryland County-Editing by Jonathan Browne