GBARNGA, Bong – The Bong County Service Center has reported contributing more than US$143,000 to the government’s national revenue envelope in 2018.
The center’s coordinator, Jefferson Gbaryan, told The Bush Chicken in an interview that last year, the center generated a total of US$143,291 from services it rendered (That amount is about 60 percent of what Grand Bassa, a county with a smaller population, collected last year at its county service center).
Gbaryan said of the amount, US$115,718 was generated in local Liberian dollar currency (L$19,440,705), while the remaining US$27,573 was collected in U.S. dollars.
He said the amount was generated from 4,285 individuals who accessed services at the center, including 184 couples, 891 females and 3,210 males.
In December alone, he said the center collected L$1,487,977 and US$4,561, totaling US$13,418 from 398 users. The Ministry of Transport was the recorded as the highest revenue generating agency with US$9,584 for the month.
The coordinator stressed that while the center remains relentless in delivering basic services to the people of Bong and its neighboring counties, it is faced with several internal challenges.
“We need utility vehicle to facilitate the movement of staff from the county service center in order to create more awareness in the various districts to promote the usage of the service delivery in the county,” he said.
He said the availability of a vehicle would additionally enhance the provision of mobile services around the county as not every citizen has the resources to travel from far distances to access services in Gbarnga.
He also appealed to the central government to provide the center with the requisite support in order to activate the remaining other services that are not currently available in the county due to administrative challenges. The services currently offered include the provision of a biometric ECOWAS passport, adult birth certificates, non-traditional marriage certificates, printing of driver’s licenses, business certificates, and divorce certificates.
“We also need increment in salaries and benefits, because it will motivate us as County Service Center staffers,” he added.
The Bong County Service Center was launched in April 2016, as one of several service centers established to decentralize services under the decentralization policy during the administration of former president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
According to a survey conducted by a local organization, almost three years since the center was launched, only 5.7 percent of citizens have taken advantage of the services it offers.
The survey rated citizens’ perception of the quality of 3 of the 14 active services being provided by the service center: birth certificate, business registration, and driver’s license.
Women accounted for 43 percent of the total respondents, with 57 percent being males. Of the total respondents, 70 percent said they knew about the service center; the rest had no knowledge.
Survey respondents most commonly used the service center to obtain birth certificates, with 41 (3.2 percent doing such). Business registration was the next popular service, accounting for 1.4 percent of survey participants. Obtaining driver licenses, vehicle license plates, and marriage certificates were the other listed services that respondents had accesses.
Featured photo by Moses Bailey