The two-day program was an in-depth stakeholders’ consultative discussion of strategic pillars that would enhance the proper functional and management review of the Ministry. The participants were representatives from different Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) including the Public Sector Reform Unit, Human Resource Management Office, Public Service Commission, Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, amongst others.
“We are here for a very important aspect in the current move towards the development of a strategic five-year plan for MLGRD. We are looking at its structure and processes to identify where there are weaknesses and strengths with the hope of proffering recommendations that would enable its effective functioning,” said the Minister of MLGRD, Tamba John Sylvanus Lamina.
He admitted that having served as Minister of MLGRD for two years, he has realized that the current structure, departments and the directorate are not serving the purpose of its constitutional mandate, and expressed hope that the two-day engagement with representatives from various MDAs would bring solution to the creation of the five-year strategic plan of the Ministry.
“We all can recall that it was in 2004 that the Local Government Act came into being. The secretariat of the ministry, which serves as the technical wing was created for a short period of time, but it is about 17 years now without any change in its structure or management and as a result, the secretariat and most departments are in an arm’s length operations with the Ministry which is why this review process is utterly important,” he said.
Tamba Lamina, Minister of MLGRD
Minister Lamina said the review process was apolitical and reiterated that it was geared towards the effective functioning of the Ministry in line with the developmental vision of the New Direction Administration of President Bio.
He thanked the EU for supporting his Ministry particularly in the process of creating the Decentralization Policy and the development of the five-year strategic plan. He called on other technical development partners to see the need of coming on board with similar support. Seven strategic pillars were extensively discussed by participants.
Responding to some comments and concerns by participants concerning whether there is the need for the appointment of a Resident Minister for the Western Area, the Deputy Minister of MLGRD, Melrose Karminty, underscored its importance. “There are about 121 villages in the Western Rural. These communities are contending with conflicts of sand mining, land grabbing, amongst others, so there should be a dedicated minister, who presides over such issues and other issues concerning the local governance and development of the Western Area,” she said. She also stressed that the issue of gender equality should be key in the strategic plan.