THE HONORABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, LENN EUGENE NAGBE, DEPUTY MINISTERS OF INFORMATION, DISTINGUISHED COLLEAGUES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN OF THE PRESS, THE AUDIENCE.
Let me begin by extending thanks and appreciation to the Almighty God for life and the opportunity to be present at this all important press briefing held under the auspices of the Ministry of Information Cultural Affairs and Tourism.
Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, I am honoured to brief the general public through this platform about activities at the Center for National Documents and Records Agency/National Archives since we took over in March 2018, as per our preferment to serve as Director General of the CNDRA by His Excellency, Dr. Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia.
CNDRA’s RECORDS INSPECTION
Upon taking over the administrative mantle of the CNDRA, and in keeping with the CNDRA’s mandate to preserve, manage and collect public records, we realized huge challenge relative to government’s records at various Ministries, Agencies, Commissions and Public Corporations for which we conducted two weeks in-service Records Inspection training for twenty-five (25) employees of the agency. Upon completion, we initiated the process of dispatching our Team of Records Inspectors at various Ministries, Agencies, Commissions and Public Corporations. The exercise covers fifteen (15) institutions of government as follows: Ministry of Commerce, MFDP, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Public Works, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Transport, Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Liberia Agency for Community Empowerment, General Services Agency, National Social Security and Welfare Corporation, Liberia Broadcasting System, LPRC and MCSS respectively.
Reports from these institutions of government provide that Government records are in a deplorable condition and require immediate intervention by the CNDRA and the National Government as a whole.
In the same vein, we have commenced communicating with heads of the aforementioned institutions of government with appropriate recommendations.
As part of phase-1, we shall shortly commence records inspection of the remaining Ministries, Agencies, Commissions and Public Corporations. Considering the voluminous records that are to be properly preserved and managed by the CNDRA, our administration realized the lack of adequate records storage facility to properly preserve government’s records.
Therefore, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, our administration in addressing this concern, hired the services of an Architecture Design Group to prepare a blue print of a Multi-Purpose National Records Center for approval by the Government of Liberia through the MWP and EPA to which we have already sent to both MPW and EPA. This building when financed by Government of Liberia’s International Partners and construction completed, will accommodate all of the National and Historical records and other vital records from various Ministries, Agencies, Commissions and Public Corporations to be permanently preserved.
CNDRA’s FIVE (5) YEAR STRATETIC PLAN
Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, in an effort to transform and modernize the National Archives of Liberia, we have developed a Draft Five (5) Year Strategic Plan (2019-2023) aim at addressing most of the challenges of the National Archives and putting it on par with other Archival institutions in Africa and the rest of the world. Considerably, to ensure the National Archives of Liberia become part of the digital global archives, which will show significant modernization to include upgrading the documents through digitization, mechanical system, cloud infrastructure, security and online searching.
The aforementioned Draft Five (5) Year Strategic Plan is been received by Liberia’s International Partners and Stakeholders who will discuss and see the launch of the final version on 31st May, A.D. 2019. His Excellency, Dr. Dr. George Manneh Weah, President of the Republic of Liberia has been written to serve as Chief Launcher for the launch of CNDRA’s Five (5) Year Strategic Plan.
CNDRA’s DECENTRALIZATION PLAN
Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, as you may be aware the CNDRA is operating within the fourteen (14) counties outside of Montserrado from a window at the service centers for which the CNDRA is unable to provide full service delivery to our people in those parts of the country. In view of this development, as part of our administration plan to fully decentralize programs and activities of CNRA in the fourteen (14) counties, and to compliment President Weah’s developmental drive, we established a Project and Programs Office at the CNDRA, which is doing very well with project proposals for the modernization of the Archives and decentralization through the construction of Local Archives Centers in the fourteen (14) counties of Liberia, which shall comprise of Special Presidential Library, Adult and Children Libraries, Customer Service Center, Exhibition Room, Repository for the preservation of vital records, and several offices to accommodate all services rendered to the Liberian people by the CNDRA.
Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, our administration is presently working with the Japan’s Grant Assistant for Grassroots Human Security Project (GGHGP) which is a Japanese NGO, with offices in Ghana at the Embassy of Japan for the construction of Local Archives Centers in the counties of Liberia through Liberian LNGOs and we have signed Memorandum of Understanding with about Nine (9) Local Not-For-Profit Organizations (LNGOs). These projects are presently been worked out by our Local Partners in collaboration with GGHSP and when actualized, will reduce stress faced by our people who commute to and fro Monrovia to process or register Legal instruments, and reduce spending on transportation.
TRANSFERRED OF THIRTY-EIGHT (38) CNDRA’s EMPLOYEES
In the wake of lack of manpower in the counties due to inadequate budgetary allocation, the CNDRA is currently providing services to the general public within Monrovia and the fourteen (14) counties in areas of records management, issuance of Marriage Certificate, Bachelor and Spinster Certificates, registration of Legal instruments and other historical documents; but the Agency is under stress as a result of the transferred of Thirty-Eight Employees from the CNDRA to the Liberia Land Authority (LLA) as of July 1, 2018, which seriously affected our service delivery in the counties and is causing the loss of revenue generation by government, and if nothing is done, government risk losing more revenue in the counties.
While looking forward to the replacement of Thirty-Eight (38) Employees, administration is considering the deployment of some Monrovia based employees to those Service Centers throughout the country, to bridge the gap and strengthen government’s revenue generation in the counties.
CNDRA’s NEWS MAGAZINE LAUNCHED
Distinguished colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, our administration on October 31, 2018, launched for the first time CNDRA’s News Magazine titled “Liberia and the United Nations, A Long Journey of Partnership”. This News Magazine feature historical highlights of our dear President, His Excellency, Dr. Dr. George Manneh Weah live as a Humanitarian, Peace Ambassador, Advocate, Politician and President. The News Magazine also highlights the works and contributions of Liberians in the formulation of the UN Protocols and working in the world committee of Nations. It also talked about Liberians in the United Nations, Congo War and World Peacekeeping.
NATIONAL LIBRARY SYSTEM
On the issue of Public Library transformation and development in Liberia, our administration is privileged and honoured to inform you about an approved proposal for the establishment National Library System in Liberia, by a Team of Liberians based in the United States of America and headed by Mrs. Jennifer Gray Brumskine. The implementation and realization of this worthy venture, the Government of Liberia is required to make available Five (5) Acres of Land. To this, we have communicated with the Superintendent of Montserrado County, Hon. Florence Brandy and the Lord Mayor of the City of Monrovia, Hon. Jefferson Koijee, for the provision of land to construct the facility that will house the National Library System.
EMPLOYEES CAPACITY BUILDING
In another development, our administration in an effort to build the capacity of CNDRA’s staff and promote staff development, has commenced negotiation with authorities of the University of Ghana to have two or three of our employees to do Master in the following field of studies: Archival Science, Management Information System and Library Science respectively. In this light, we have extended invitation to an authority of the University of Ghana to visit Liberia to finalize negotiation with the Minister of State and Minister of Education.
ISSUING BACHELOR AND SPINSTER CERTIFICATES
Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press, before I retire from this platform, it has become compelling for me to comment on recent media outburst on the issuance of Bachelor and Spinsterhood Certificates by the CNDRA. For the record, the CNDRA has over two decades introduced the issuance of Bachelor and Spinsterhood Certificates, up to and including the month of September 2018, the last fee charge was US$150.00. Beginning October 1, 2018, as our way of interpreting Government’s Pro-Poor Agenda and demonstrating its true meaning, by making the Bachelor and Spinsterhood Certificates affordable by reducing the fee US$150.00 to US$15.00. Let me make it clear as per speculation and discussion in street corners that we have made Bachelor and Spinsterhood Certificates compulsory for required age individuals to obtain, is incorrect and untrue. Rather, it is a pre-requisite to obtain Marriage Certificate from the CNDRA. This is done so because, our administration has discovered that information provided by applicants for Marriage Certificates are sometimes untrue and misleading which contributes to double standards of Marriages, and to avoid the CNDRA issuing Marriage Certificates to individuals already married, applicants are urged to make formal declaration under oath about one’s single status by obtaining Bache , and the provision of false information is consequential under our laws by the commission of perjury and bigamy.
Thank you very much for the opportunity.