President Sirleaf Reconfirms Commitment to Decentralization Process; Dedicates Bong County Service Center

Tuesday, 26th April 2016
Monrovia, Liberia - President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has reconfirmed government’s commitment to the process of decentralization in the country amid the dedication of Bong County Service Center in Gbarnga, Bong County. 
 
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf made the statement at the official program marking the formal open of the Bong County Service Center in Gbarnga, Bong County on Monday, April 25, 2016. The Bong County Service Center is among other initiatives part the Liberian government’s decentralization platform intended to bring services closer to the people and a vision for a new Liberia that responds to the needs of its people by being more inclusive in governance, service-oriented and economically participatory.   The Service Center is a one-stop shop where documentation-related services including permits, licenses and certifications are offered reflecting the same value and cost in Monrovia.  “We have come a long way, but we still have to do more” President Sirleaf Said
  
President Sirleaf acknowledged the enormous progress already made by the government but indicated that more work needs to be done in the decentralization and deconcentration processes throughout Liberia. The Liberian leader thanked partners, particularly the Swedish Government and the United Nations as well as the local authorities and the citizens for their support and commitment. 
 
President Sirleaf then commended the citizens of Bong County for working with government and partners in the realization of such a success and as well the demonstration of strong commitment to realizing this important. She said: “We have come a long way and still need to do more.” She urged the citizens of Bong County to take ownership and feel a part of the progress made collectively together with the government. She said her government is challenged but will meet the goals set before the administration leaves.
 
 Speaking at the dedicatory ceremony, the Chairman of the Governance Commission, Dr. Amos C. Sawyer said the County Service Center is the first stage of the decentralization process, which seeks to take government closer to the people. He pointed out that the completion and opening of three County Service Centers indicates that government will achieve its adjective of constructing Service Centers in all 15 Counties before the end of the administration. He praised President Sirleaf for the vision while calling for the sustainability of such governance system through the passage of the Local Government Act and other related instruments by the Legislature   
 
For his part, Representative George S. Mulbah of Bong County who spoke on behalf the Bong County Legislative Caucus described the Center as a “Landmark Development” by the UP-led Government. He assured the Caucus’s continued commitment to supporting the Local Government Act at the National Legislature   
 
In remarks, the representative of the European Union said the County Service Center will make it easier for the people of Bong County to remain in the country in order to access quality services provided. She said the EU recognizes the service delivery, which is meant to reduce the high cost of citizens traveling from Bong to Monrovia just obtain a driver’s license. She admonished members of the public in the county to protect the facility for their own interest.
 
For his part, Acting Internal Affairs Minister, Hon. Varney Sirleaf described President Sirleaf as one of the best Presidents Liberia has produced. He thanked her for the leadership and commitment, adding: “Your vision to decentralize this country is a clear manifestation of your leadership and strong commitment to good statesmanship. President Sirleaf also toured the facilities at the Bong County Technical College, to familiarize herself with conditions on the ground.