The first county services center of the Government of Liberia’s decentralization platform has been launched in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County, southeast Liberia. Liberia’s Vice President, Joseph Nyumah Boakai, cut the ribbon to the building hosting the center Tuesday, 30 June under the banner, “one stop service center.”
The center contains all government ministries and agencies and will provide services such as issuing traditional marriage licenses, herbalist certificates, business registry, ECOWAS work permits, driver’s licenses and birth certificates, among others.
Vice President Boakai said opening of the service center clearly underscores government’s seriousness in decentralizing the governance system of the country.
He said from the onset of the Ellen administration, the government had shared the vision of taking services from Monrovia to the people.
“For so long now, people from all across the country have to travel to Monrovia to get marriage certificates or to register their businesses; our people are compelled to travel from distant places to Monrovia to register their vehicles and get driver’s license,” Ambassador Boakai recalled.
He vowed that the government will not rest until every county in Liberia has a service center to provide residents the basic services they need.
VP Boakai added that center constructed in any county and services provided will be of the same quality as in Monrovia.
“This year, we have started effort to introduce county based budgeting, so that all counties can have a clear indication of how big a resource envelope they have and for what; this will enable each county to consult the people on the priorities, with full knowledge of what is possible from their existing resources,” he pointed out.
The CSC is a one stop shop center where ministries, agencies and commissions will provide specialized deconcentration services to the public relating.
The opening of the center in Grand Bassa County marks a significant transition to a new governance approach aimed at making services available to the public in the areas they live.
The National Decentralization Implementation Secretariat or NDIS, guided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, is coordinating the set up of service centers in eight counties in phase one of the deconcetration plan.
The Buchanan launch will be followed by other counties, including Maryland, Nimba, Bong, Lofa, Grand Gedeh, Bomi and Margibi, respectively.
Initial services to be provided at the Grand Bassa County Service Center includes but not limited to birth certificates, marriage and divorce certificates, business registration documents, contractor’s license and ECOWAS Work Permit.
The implementation is being executed by the Government of Liberia through a grant from the European Union.
Antonio Vigilante, Deputy SRSG, reaffirmed the United Nations’ commitment to supporting the government’s deconcentration platform, which he said, is intended to exercise the movement of the people as a means of improving local government.
He said the goal of the platform is to promote local government activities in the counties as a means of preparing for community empowerments throughout Liberia.
“UN is committed and remains firm to continue the support for the betterment of the country through its deconcentration platform”, Deputy SRSG Vigilante assured.
Grand Bassa Superintendent, Etwedor Cooper, thanked Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, national and international partners for supporting the one stop shop center.
She said the opening of the center in Grand Bassa County marks a significant transition to a new governance approach, aimed at making services available to the public, especially in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County.
By Ben P. Wesee