MONROVIA: The UNDP Liberia Decentralization Support Programme (LDSP) in partnership with the Governance Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the Liberia Revenue Authority has completed four policy dialogues across the country intended to raise awareness on the Revenue Sharing Act (RSA), which is set to improve service delivery and enhance local government administration in Liberia.
“The Revenue Sharing Act is pivotal to Liberia’s inclusive development. Once implemented, it will open revenue streams in counties and districts that will jump-start local development and bring government services closer to people,” said the Governance Commission Chairman, Atty. Garrison Yealue, Jr.
The dialogues highlighted key concepts and principles of the revenue-sharing law and clarified the necessity and operationalization of the proposed Equalization Fund. The Fund is a resource envelope intended to provide basic services and infrastructure for marginalized and deprived communities that have experienced perennial inequitable development.
The dialogues were also aimed at strengthening broad citizens’ awareness and participation in local governance by increasing their understanding of the roles of the Local Government Fiscal Board as enshrined both in the Revenue Sharing and Local Government Acts.
Held in Ganta, Gbarnga, Kakata, and Buchanan cities, the dialogues brought together over 140 participants from marginalized sections of society including women, youth, CSOs, and Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
The Revenue Sharing Act was developed in line with section 4.1 of the Local Government Act (LGA) which calls for the establishment of adequate, identifiable, and reliable sources of own revenue through a revenue-sharing formula for the support of local governments.
The Act, therefore, seeks to empower the administration of local governments, spur local economic development, and improve service delivery.
Similar awareness-creation events were conducted last year specifically targeting local government officials who are direct implementers of the Revenue Sharing Act. These interventions seek to build the consciousness of citizens and local government authorities alike for smooth implementation and enforcement as well as national ownership.
As a result of the dialogues, CSOs are increasingly calling on the government to begin implementing the law. CSOs have always played the watchdog role on issues of social accountability at the subnational level.
It can be recalled that a CSO from Bong County took the Government to the Supreme Court of Liberia in 2022 to demand the establishment of County Councils which subsequently led to the setting up of County Councils in all 15 counties in accordance with chapter 2.2 of the LGA.
Accordingly, it is expected that participants of the policy dialogues -especially CSOs, will demand the implementation of the Revenue Sharing Act which has widely been accepted as a game-changer for decentralization.
A total of 300 persons have benefited from awareness-raising efforts on the Revenue Sharing Act since 2022 and are expected to transfer the knowledge acquired to their respective constituencies.
More awareness will be carried out when the Revenue Sharing Act Regulation (RSAR) is finalized and approved for implementation.
The RSAR is an administrative and operational guideline that is intended to facilitate the implementation of the Revenue Sharing Act and strengthen accountability over the usage of funds transferred to local governments through revenue sharing.
The policy dialogues were funded by Sweden and Irish Aid through the Liberia Decentralization Support Programme (LDSP).