Liberia’s First County Service Center Relieves Citizens’ stress

More women flood the Center on a daily basis to obtain birth certificates for their children.

The Government of Liberia, through a European Union Grant contribution, is facilitating the actualization of County Service Centers (CSCs) in eight counties.

Highlights

  • About 70% of those receiving birth certificates are women.
  • More than 1.8 million Liberian Dollars was raised in revenue generation for the first seven months from July 1, 2015 to end of January 2016.
  • Statistics reveal a total of 3,436 service users. Birth Certificate tops the number of services acquired during the period with two thousand two hundred forty-six (2,246) service users, followed by five hundred fifty-eight (558) psychosocial Services.
  • Additional Service centers are expected to be established sometime in 2016 in Lofa, Nimba, Margibi and Bong Counties
  • One hundred eighty-nine(189) business registration related certificates were issued, Sixty-one (61) land deeds, thirty-four (34) Letters of Administration, fifteen(15) other legal documents and fifty-seven (57) Labor related cases.

This is being carried out under the Liberia Decentralization Support Program or LDSP managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Liberia. Other partners include the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UMMIL) and the Government of Sweden.

Dedicated in 2015, the operation of the first County Service Center in Buchannan, Grand Bassa County has now reduced the difficulty faced by many rural dwellers in accessing services related to obtaining work permits, marriage and birth certificates, land deeds, business permits and registration among others.

According to residents, the establishment of the Center in Buchanan City relieves them of the   ‘stress’ in accessing these important services.  They lauded the Government and UNDP for taking governance closer to the people of Grand Bassa County and surrounding areas.

The CSC has reported that more than  1.8 million Liberian Dollars was raised in revenue generation for the first seven months from July 1, 2015 to end of January 2016 of with a total 3,436 service users.

Statistics also reveal that issuance of Birth Certificate tops the number of services acquired during the period with two thousand two hundred forty-six (2,246) service users, followed by five hundred fifty-eight (558) psychosocial Services.

A total one hundred ninety-five (195) Traditional Marriage Certificates were issued, while Western Marriage Certificates amount to thirty-two (32).

The Ministry of Internal Affairs disclosed that during the seven-month period, one hundred eighty-nine(189) business registration related certificates were issued, while the Grand Bassa CSC recorded Sixty-one (61) land deeds, thirty-four (34) Letters of Administration, fifteen(15) other legal documents and fifty-seven (57) Labor related cases.

Women are the greatest beneficiaries of services currently at the county service center. For example, about 70% of those accessing services for birth certificates on behalf of their children, are women. Citizens, mainly women are normally seen lined up with their children to obtain birth certificates.

Quoting statistics from the Grand Bassa County Service Center, one thousand one hundred ten (1,110) of the number of children (ages 0-12 years old) who obtained birth Certificates are females, while one thousand one hundred thirty-six (1,136) are males.

Martha Tarr, mother of three, is a resident of Grand Bassa County. She is among several women who had arrived at the Center early morning to obtain a birth certificate for her one and half year old daughter.

“I want to thank UNDP and the Government for bringing the Center here. Now, we will not have to travel to Monrovia to get birth certificate for our children….” Martha said.

Martha said the Center has taken off the “stress” of spending money on transportation and other fees to access such services.

The Internal Affairs Ministry, in its capacity as Coordinator for De-concentration, says  services including Birth Certificates, Psychosocial and Labor related cases  are offered free of charge.

With funding from the European Union and Managed by UNDP, the CSC is a one-stop shop set up under the Liberia Decentralization Support Program (LDSP) to ensure that major documentation services are accessible to rural residents including those from Rivercess, Montserrado, and Sinoe Counties.

According to the Deputy Internal Affairs Minister Varney Sirleaf, four additional Service centers are expected to be established sometime in 2016 in Lofa, Nimba, Margibi and Bong Counties as part of a roll out plan of ensuring that similar services are made available to more rural residents. Already, work has started in three of the four Counties...Nimba, Margibi and Bong.

Meanwhile, the Grand Bassa said obtaining services has become easier with the relocation of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) office in the CSC building, thus enabling service users to carrying on all transactions at the center without going from one office building to another.

At the same time, in fulfillment of fiscal De-concentration, the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning has begun deploying staff to operate the Grand Bassa County Treasury Framework.

The Treasury  framework that allows financial transactions to be implemented in the Counties rather than in Monrovia.

 

 

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