-To Guard The Management of CSDF
Civil Society grouping under the banner the Natural Resource Management Coalition is highlighting the need for the government especially the National Legislature to see the need to pass a ‘Stand-Alone’ County Social Development Fund Management Law that will aid stakeholders in decentralizing developmental initiatives around the Country.
Speaking to reporters in Monrovia, Mr. Peter Dolo, Deputy Director for Program at the Development Education Network Liberia DEN-L) said the coalition of eight civil society grouping with funding from USAID through the Liberia Accountability and Voice Initiatives (LAVI) conducted a nation-wide research to identify challenges that are slowing down development at the county level regardless of the fact that funding is allocated annually.
Mr. Dolo went further to say that the findings from the nation-wide research identify challenges like poor information dissemination about before and about sitting was one of the challenges, hand picking delegates to attend the county sitting which implies that stakeholders picked delegates based on their interest was another, participation of all to include women, youth, disadvantage citizens was also another, people who allegedly misappropriated the funding go with impunity, huge percentage of the funding was used on administration causing low impact, proper reporting on how the funds were used was another, resolutions were changed after the county sitting diverting community priorities was also noticed and civil society involvement in the process was also another challenge highlighted by the research.
The DEN-L Deputy Director for Programs mentioned that following the research, a lunching program was held in Monrovia at which time some members of the National Legislature and other national stakeholders were present and these findings were presented with a proposal for reform in section 9 of the budget law which speaks about the use and administration of the funds.
Following the interaction, the Natural Resource Management Coalition began the advocacy around the reforms and currently some reforms to include: At least 25% of the total delegates attending the County Sitting should be women, County sitting should be done when Lawmakers are on their annual break, Lawmakers and other county authorities are to only serve as observers at the county sitting, The presiding must be elected from the delegates, The funding should be placed in an extra county account and disbursement can be made after proper expenditure report for the previous funding has been made and only 10% of the funding should be used for administration annually.
Mr. Dolo concluded by saying that it is the aspiration of the coalition that the government of Liberia will see the need to pass a CSDF Management ‘Stand Alone Law’ that will not be changed annually as the National Budget is done noting lawmakers support is a prime desire to ensure the passage of the proposed Bill.
It can be recalled that in 2006, Former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in an effort to decentralize development allotted a specific amount now US$200,000.00 annually to each county regardless of the size and population to support developments to include, but not limited roads, education, health among others in addition to funding given by concessions for counties of operations.
The Natural Resource Management Coalition is a combination of eight civil society groups to include the Liberia Media Center, Sustainable Development Institute, NAYMOTE, RHARP, Platform for Development and Peace, Development Education Network Liberia among others.