Commonwealth Local Government Forum

East Africa \ 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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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


The Challenge of Local Government Financing in Developing Countries

Cities are assets, solutions and drivers of economic and social development. Cities possess huge untapped economic potential that can and should be leveraged to create wealth and economic opportunities for all. This requires good urban planning that supports urban compactness, integration, and connectivity. However, even the best urban plans risk ending up unused if they are not accompanied by financial and regulatory strategies for implementation. Strategic public investments must go hand in hand with strategic funding mechanisms and supporting governance systems. The report also identifies successful governance mechanisms for efficient and equitable provision of public services in metropolitan areas of developing countries, and shares experiences and methods to making public service provision more viable in peri-urban areas of large cities and in smaller urban centres of these countries.

Author: UN Habitat Publisher: UN Habitat Publication year: 2017


REVIEW NOTE: Local Government Reform and Local Government Finance

The multi-faceted problem of local government finance has attracted increasing attention in the new millennium. The reasons for the renewed interest in this thorny question are comparatively straightforward. In the first place, for the past two decades all public sector institutions have been profoundly affected by the twin revolutions simultaneously sweeping the world – the globalization of the international economy and the information revolution wrought by the computer age – and local government is no exception. Not only have these inexorable forces had dramatic implications for the structure of government as a whole, and relationships between the different tiers of government, but also for service provision and public finance, including local public finance. Secondly, substantially heightened demands on local government, together with limited access to adequate funding, have seen the genesis of a deepening crisis in the financial sustainability of local government entities.

Author: Brian Dollery Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


Structural reform, revenue adequacy and optimal tax assignment in local government

A striking feature of local government reform in many Commonwealth countries has been a heavy reliance on structural reform, often in the form of forced local council amalgamation. This paper argues that the long-run success of structural change in local government hinges on several key factors, not least that voluntary rather than compulsory council mergers have a far greater chance of success. A second key ingredient resides in a high degree of local autonomy in both the composition and operation of decentralized governmental functions. A third vital factor lies in ensuring that revenue and tax assignment is sufficient to provide local government with financial autonomy. Finally, adequate powers of taxation need to be accorded to local government and this requires careful consideration of the types of taxes most suited to local government.

Author: Lorenzo Robotti, Brian Dollery Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2009


The Commonwealth Local Government Forum: An Overview

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) was established in 1994, coinciding with rapid moves towards decentralisation at that time, especially in Commonwealth Africa. It uniquely brings together national associations of local government and individual councils, ministries responsible for local government, and training and research institutes with an interest in local government, on a common platform. This reflects an understanding that local government needs effective central government and vice versa if decentralisation is to be truly successful, and that research, training and practice need to be brought together in a constructive and creative way. CLGF’s developmental work can be divided into three main categories: Promotion and advocacy of local democracy and good governance, Exchange of experience and Capacity building.This article provides a brief overview of the activities and projects which CLGF has underway in respect of these objectives. It will be complemented by more detailed papers on specific programmes and projects in this and future issues of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance.

Author: Lucy Slack Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2008


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