Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Local government finance

Resourcing local government remains a central challenge to effective decentralisation. This section has content relating to different models of fiscal decentralisation, options for identifying new sources of local revenue, such as local property tax; and strategies for improving collection and deployment of own-source revenue. It also offers information about improving the borrowing potential of local government, innovative financing models such as municipal bonds, shared services, and public private partnerships.

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Planning for the Public Benefit in the Entrepreneurial City: Public Land Speculation and Financialized Regulation

The redevelopment of Barangaroo, Sydney’s last vacant central city waterfront site, raised high expectations for the public benefits developers would provide in return. The story highlights the ways in which the entrepreneurial State’s conflict of interest in the redevelopment eroded the quality of the public benefits negotiated in return for a valuable public asset. In contrast to the previous redevelopment projects, the State used public land and its newly centralized regulatory powers to maximize public revenues from Barangaroo, prioritizing these over both the public’s interests and, on occasion, those of private developers.

Author: Heather MacDonald Publisher: Journal of Planning Education and Research Publication year: 2019


Improving subnational government development finance in emerging and developing economies: toward a strategic approach

Considerable attention has been given to enhancing subnational development finance in response to the 2008 global financial crisis and recent global development agendas, including the Sustainable Development Goals, Financing for Development, and Habitat III/New Urban Agenda. Much work on this topic is fragmented, focusing on specific elements of development finance: fiscal transfers, capital market access, public-sector lending agencies, or public-private partnerships. Most countries, however, have a range of subnational governments with varying needs and capacities that require different and evolving mixes of development finance mechanisms. Enabling greater subnational borrowing is often desirable but requires adoption of other reform policies to improve the fiscal capacity and creditworthiness of subnational governments over time. This paper reviews the rationale and potential for improving subnational development finance, outlines the overall landscape of institutional arrangements available for this purpose, and considers broad challenges involved. Based on a review of global practice and experience in selected Asian developing countries with a range of special entities and innovations to enhance subnational investment, it proposes a more integrated, strategic approach to building subnational development finance.

Author: Paul Smoke Publisher: Asian Development Bank Publication year: 2019


World Development Report 2019: The Changing Nature of Work

Pages 135-136 are on property tax. 'Another form of recurrent taxation that can be tapped for further resources in most developing countries is immovable property taxes. These taxes do not distort labor markets, human capital accumulation, or innovation decisions. Property taxes also provide a stable source of revenue that is less susceptible to short-term economic fluctuations and is difficult to evade. And although property taxes would likely not flow into federal social protection schemes (they are typically raised by local governments), they could fund regional or municipal social services or reduce the level of federal transfers to local governments. On average, high-income countries raise 1.1 percent of GDP from immovable property taxes. In middle income countries, these taxes yield about 0.4 percent of GDP.19 Yet property taxes represent untapped revenue potential for all countries. This revenue gap is estimated to be 0.9 percent of GDP in middle-income countries and as much as 2.9 percent in high-income countries.20 Governments in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated to be missing out on revenues of 0.5 to 1 percent of GDP because of no property taxes whatsoever or their limited application.'
 

Author: World Bank Publisher: World Bank Publication year: 2018


Contracting Out Services in the Nigerian Local Government: Implications for Internal Revenue Generation

The primary reasons for creating the Nigerian local government system was grassroots mobilization and development. The Council has however, consistently failed to provide critical services to the rural poor ostensibly because of poor funding. The work examined the structure, functions and accountability mechanisms of the Council vis-à-vis its revenue generation capacity. The problem identified is that the Council contracts out services and its statutory revenue sources at ridiculous prices to patrons even in the face of fiscal cutback and burgeoning demand from the critical populace. Using the Local Government Discretion and Accountability Diagnostic Framework of Analysis and Financial Agency Theory, the paper found that lack of political, administrative and financial accountability mechanisms provides the leeway for unscrupulous Council officials to grossly enrich themselves and their patrons. The paper recommends that the Public Procurement Act which emphasizes Due Process in tendering should be institutionalized by the local government. The anti-graft agencies should be repositioned to deal with treasury looters while the electoral process should be reformed to make it more transparent and inclusive.

Author: Johnson Emeka Nwofia Publisher: International Journal of Social Science Studies Publication year: 2018


Gender-Responsive Budgeting: The Case of a Rural Local Body in Kerala

This article discusses gender-responsive budgeting (GRB) at the local level in Kerala by studying a village panchayat, the lowest tier of rural local government. GRB of a rudimentary form, known as Women Component Plan (WCP), had been in existence at the local level for the last 20 years as a key feature of participatory planning. The study adopts a fourfold classification of all projects implemented in the panchayat on the basis of their gender friendliness and calculates allocation and expenditure under each of these categories. The data on which the article relies relate to the expenditure incurred under the annual plans rather than budgets, which are based on inflated and unreliable data. The article ends by making some observations based on the data and the overall experience of Kerala in gender budgeting.

Author: John S. Moolakkattu, John S. Moolakkattu Publisher: Sage open Publication year: 2018


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