Grand Cape Mount County – Grand Cape Mount County Superintendent, Tenneh Sampson Kpadebah says her county is yet to receive its allotment of the County Social Development Fund covering Fiscal Year 2014/2015 up to present.
The County Social Development Fund (CSDF) is a combination of the then County Development Fund (CDF) and Social Development (SDF) through the revised budget law of Liberia.
The decision to combine the two sources was based on the fact that there were some counties that were not benefiting from Social Development Fund due to the lack of concession companies operating in said counties.
In an exclusive interview with the Grand Cape Mount Chief Administrator by a team of investigative journalists, Madam Kpadebah told reporters that the last fund received by county authorities for development in Grand Cape Mount represents Fiscal Year 2013/2014.
According to her, authorities of the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Finance and Development Planning including some members of the Legislature informed her that some funds captured in past fiscal year budgets were reportedly transferred by the Government of Liberia to tackle other top priority issues including the Ebola Virus Disease.
The Grand Cape Mount Superintendent has also alarmed over what she described as tight bureaucracy in accessing funds allotted for county development at the Ministry of Finance.
She explained that one major challenge her administration continues face in the implementation of selected projects by the county council is accessing funds from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
According to her the Public Procurement and Concession Commission, Public Financial Management and Budget laws of the country seriously slow development initiatives and projects across Liberia describing the process of accessing funds at the Finance Ministry as “forever”.
“By the time you go through all the bureaucratic bottom neck at the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Finance, we are already into the rainy season and no construction company will want to work in the rain and this is one of our major challenges,” Madam Kpadebah disclosed.
She however informed the team of reporters that in the midst of all these challenges, the county has been able to undertake and start several projects some of which are completed, abandoned or stalled.
She named some of those projects as clinics and health centers in several parts of the county.
The team observed that a health center constructed in the Tawor District is functional while other clinics are in Butter Hill Portpa District, Tambala Health Center, Vahnkeway and Saywu amongst others.
Madam Kpadebah on a contrary was quick to point out that the Saywu Health Center which was started by a representative aspirant by completed by the Government of Liberia for the Ministry of Health now lays in ruin.
According to residents of the area, more than a year ago, Vice President, Joseph N. Boakai dedicated the project upon completion, but is yet to be functional.
The Grand Cape Mount Chief administrator disclosed that Health Ministry authorities informed her that the health center could not be functional due to the unavailability of nurses. Additional information gathered from some chiefs and elders of the Saywu Town including Saywu Town Chief, Adama Fahnbulleh revealed that the US$150,000 Health Center has and continues to be a very serious embarrassment for thousands of residents of the town and its environs due to its un-functional nature.
Authorities of the county also disclosed that said embarrassment has since been reported to Health Ministry authorities but in response, authorities of the Health Ministry requested county authorities to provide genuine documents for the parcel of land being covered by the health facility to avoid future embarrassments something authorities of Cape Mount including the County Legislative Caucus intervened and made said documents available, but nothing is yet to be done as the building is being depreciated by the days as grass and termites or bubs.
The County and Social Development Funds were intended to fast strike development across the country on a county and district level based on the priority needs of the people in consultation with their respective county caucuses.
Report by Esau Farr/Freelance Journalist