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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Mobilising internally generated funds to finance development projects in Ghana’s Northern Region

This paper assesses the effectiveness of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) in Ghana’s Northern Region in mobilising internally generated funds (IGF) to finance development projects. The study gathered both primary and secondary data from three MMDAs: Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Yendi Municipal Assembly and Saboba District Assembly. It employed a multi-stage sampling technique of questionnaires, interviews, focus groups and key informant interviews to collect data from respondents and obtain a snapshot of their situation in the 2013 fiscal year. It established that fines, property rates, licences, annual rates, investment income, permits, sales of tender documents, and business taxes were potential sources of revenue for the assemblies. Also, the study identified a range of strategies employed by assemblies to raise revenue: engagement of revenue collectors, use of a mobile revenue taskforce, registration of businesses, visits to markets and business centres, commission payments for revenue collectors, security checkpoints, incentivisation of revenue collectors, establishment of revenue collection points, and rotation of revenue collectors. Nevertheless, the study found that the MMDAs studied could not meet their IGF revenue targets for the 2013 fiscal year, with all three falling below 50%. This poor performance was attributed to: inadequate logistics to support effective IGF mobilisation; under-declaring of revenues; not enough revenue collectors; poor supervision and monitoring; poor compliance by ratepayers; corruption; political interference; inadequate knowledge and skills among revenue collectors; poor service delivery by the assemblies; ineffective collaboration; and lack of revenue data.

Author: Felix Puopiel, Musah Chimsi Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2015


Political actor or policy instrument? Governance challenges in Australian local government

This article examines the governance challenges facing Australian local government, which include lack of constitutional standing, intergovernmental dependencies, financial constraints and weak democratic standing. The historical context has shaped the nature and place of local government in the Australian federal polity and has contributed to the tensions created by an expansion of the roles and responsibilities of local government, especially in the provision of services, which is not matched by concomitant increases in financial capacity and local autonomy. These governance challenges are discussed with a view to establishing local government’s capacity for autonomous self-governance in the face of intergovernmental and fiscal dependencies, and the implications of this for local government reform trajectories.

Author: Nicola Brackertz Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2013


Role of the land valuation division in property rating by district assemblies in Ghana's Upper East Region

District Assemblies in Ghana are charged with the responsibility of developing their areas of jurisdiction mainly through internally mobilised revenue. As a consequence, the assemblies are empowered by various pieces of legislation to impose local taxes within their jurisdiction. The local taxes include property rates which are a form of tax that only the District Assemblies may levy. The study therefore looked at the levying of property rates in the Upper East Region and assessed the role and institutional capacity of the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission in the tax administration. Findings included limited coverage of the tax, use of flat rates due to absence of up-to-date property values, inadequate technical personnel and logistics for the Land Valuation Division (LVD) and lack of political will to levy the rates fully. Relevant suggestions are made, such as the need to introduce mass valuation, widen the tax coverage, establish a fund for revaluation and revive the Valuation Training School, as well as provide requisite logistics for efficient performance of the LVD.

Author: Maxwell Kwotua Petio Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2013


Local government finance in Ghana: disbursement and utilisation of the MPs share of the District Assemblies Common Fund

The establishment of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) in 1993 and concomitant percentage set aside for Members of Parliament (MPs) in 2004 aims to support local governments and legislators in pro-poor development activities in their communities and constituencies. In spite of the importance of the MPs’ share of the District Assemblies Common Fund (MPsCF) in financing local level development in Ghana, very little is known about monitoring systems and procedures on the disbursement and utilization of the funds. The study therefore assessed qualitative data derived from interviews with officials from selected Local Government Authorities (LGAs) as well as other key stakeholders in the disbursement and utilization of the fund. The study findings point to the absence of legislative instrument on the management of the MPsCF. Further, monitoring of the fund was a responsibility shared by the LGAs and other external stakeholders. Finally, the effectiveness of monitoring the disbursement and utilization of the MPsCF was strongly influenced by the relationship between the Chief Executive of the Local Government Authority (LGCE) and MPs in the local government area.

Author: Nana Nimo Appiah-Agyekum Publication year: 2013


Rural municipal development and reform in Canada: policy learning through local - provincial collaboration

In a federated country like Canada, diversity challenges universal policy prescriptions for local governments. The success of its provincial governments, which have exclusive jurisdiction for systems of local government, depends on balancing the need to act comprehensively and systematically while dealing thoughtfully with the unique situation of individual local governments. Canada’s provinces are shifting their approach to strengthening rural governance – shifting away from more directive interventions and now seeking to facilitate capacity-building in a manner that is less state-centred, more bottom-up, and better adapted to variable local circumstances. A dialogue was organised to focus on this shift in provincial practice. It brought together more than 50 savvy and influential policy practitioners representing all provinces and most local government associations at the provincial level. Practice recommendations emerged for provinces, local government associations, and local governments focusing on concrete actions and tools but also on the potential for redefining the roles played by, and relations between, the associations and provincial governments.

Author: John Martin, Gary Paget, Brian Walisser Publisher: University of Technology Sydney Press Publication year: 2012


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