The Liberia Decentralization Support Programme (LDSP)
What is the Programme about?
Decentralization is central to the ongoing peace building and reconciliation, governance reforms, and poverty reduction program of Liberia. According to the Agenda for Transformation (Poverty Reduction Strategy(PRS) II), the Government of Liberia is “committed to delivering to the Liberian people an improved system of governance that is more localized and more responsive to the needs and aspirations of all citizens throughout the country.
The Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP), is a successor to the Liberia Decentralization and Local Development (LDLD) which was a five-year program of support to the decentralization of political, administrative, and fiscal governance in Liberia.
The new LDSP program is fully aligned with Liberia’s National Policy on Decentralization and Local Governance and the Liberia Decentralization Implementation Plan (LDIP).
Specific objectives related to the transfer of authority and responsibilities from national to local governments in Liberia include the following:
•Enhance sensitive, responsive and capable and accountable local governments.
•Accelerate effective and efficient service delivery and poverty alleviation by developing and strengthening local level planning, monitoring and management capacity and providing access to national and local resources through fiscal decentralization.
•Increase equitable distribution of the nation’s resources so as to ensure a more holistic process of development and democratic governance.
•Enhance participatory decision-making to engender peace-building and reconciliation.
The Project aims to achieve the following results:
•Citizens (men and women) and stakeholders are aware of and participate in decentralization reforms
•Legal and regulatory frameworks for decentralization established.
•Liberian institutions are built to lead and implement decentralization reforms.
•Service delivery and accountability of local government improved
What have we accomplished so far?
-Presidential Directives created the political space and the unwavering commitment of the government to move services to the people put into place.
-Clear sector instructions provided to the responsible MACS encouraged Superintendents to coordinate service delivery in all Counties.
-The establishment of county service center(s) provides opportunity for Ministry, Agencies and Commissions (MACs) and county administration to pool resources in a shared governance format
-Citizens now have access to services at the county level (Grand Bassa County); mainly documentation services, i.e. permits, birth certificate, marriage certificates, business registration, etc. As a result of the establsihment of the Service Center in Buchanan,Government services are now brought closer to the people and have improved service delivery at the county level.
-Synergies in service delivery under the Superitendent have now become cost effective and well coordinated.
-Forty-five (45) persons from across the de-concentrating MACs have been trained and are effectively delivering services at the County Services Center.
-Decentralization reforms have placed high emphasis on the participation and empowerment of women, people with disability and other marginalized groups (Local Governance Bill). Women are the greatest beneficiaries of services currently at the county service centers, for example, about 70% of those receiving birth certificates are women.
-Women in informal business sector such as local catering and restaurant businesses, are now moving into the formal sector due to access to business registration services at the county service center.
-As a result of the registration of traditional marriages at the county level, women now have rights in their marriages, similar to those of women in civil marriages.
-Cabinet has deliberated on LG Bill and now has a consensus on the way forward. The Bill is currently before the President awaiting submission to the Legislature. Key provisions in the local government bill on elections of local officials were successfully considered by delegates during the constitutional reform conference.
-Conducted 8 seminars across the country aimed at providing professional guidance and orientation to Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) staff on staff transitions, individual benefits, entitlements, remunerations, voluntary retirements and redundancy to align to the institutional strengthening of the ministry (as identified within the civil service reform) for the decentralization program. 190 employees were targeted over a four week period. As a result of this activity, 156 employees retired and 20 deceased names were removed from the payroll. This action yielded an annual savings of L$11,481.880 to the Government of Liberia. Of this total amount, L$1,844.352 comes from the removal of deceased persons from the pension list.
-Consultations held with legislative caucuses, citizens at the county level, and other stakeholders to discuss the Government of Liberia decentralization and governance policy, and the need to rationalize existing structure for economic viability and build consensus among the political parties, citizens and traditional leaders to support the rationalization criteria. These engagements have resulted in soliciting consensus and indulgence of the Government’s rationalization program – a process leading to the implementation of the reduction of sub-county local government structures to create viable, sustainable, effective, efficient entities led by the people themselves.
- Procured several assets, including 10 vehicles, office and ICT equipment, to support the implementation of the program at central and local levels. Two of the vehicles replace the old vehicles that the secretariat is currently using, while 8 turned over to Counties to facilitate the new approach of creating strong centers of government where services must be delivered.
Who finances it?
Delivery in previous year