By Goth Mohamed Goth
A one day Validation workshop of fiscal decentralization strategy of Somaliland Republic meant to improve public service delivery and to increase local government access to financing for infrastructure was jointly organized by Ministry of Interior, Finance and UNDCF was held on the 26th February, 2015 at the IGAD Sheik Veterinary School and Reference Center, in Sahil Region.
Mr. Adan Mataan, UNDCF country representative speaking during the workshop said, “As you’re well aware of this is the second workshop which is a follow up of the previous one was held on the 8th , Feb ,2015 and he aim of today’s meeting is to analyses information gathered from the various local government and municipalities from across the country.
“The purpose of today’s meeting is to hear and listen from the Mayors gathered here your various presentations on how you manage the local fund has been designed to support financing of local infrastructure, with the aim to demonstrate how local constraints can deliver both infrastructures and services that respond to the expressed needs of communities”, he said.
The Somaliland Constitution & Decentralization Policy Approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on July 2014 set out intention to devolve authority and responsibility for services to LGs. However, there is a gap between the policy on one hand and the actual practice and implementation of decentralization on the other. Therefore to mend the gap UNCDF commissioned ODI (The Overseas Development Institute) based in United Kingdom to support the Republic of Somaliland and to develop.
– Developing a fiscal Decentralization Strategy (FDS) that elaborates the policy statements in the policy to finance services under the mandate of Somaliland LGs.
– Conducting an assessment of the current financing of basic services at the LG level in Somaliland Republic
– In consideration of the fiscal policy statements producing the LG Financing Framework for service delivery and implementation road map.
The Specific Objective of 26th February Validation Workshop in Sheikh:
The Overseas Development Studies (ODI) team hired by UNCDF/JPLG with the Support of Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Finance, intended to share the Mayors and to present the findings of the Assessment conducted by ODI team in Somaliland from 4th to 14th January 2016, and the specific Objectives of the Workshop was focusing.
• Present the finding assessment of the levels and systems through which Government finances LGs to deliver its service delivery mandate
• Present LG service delivery financing assessment reports for Somaliland covering sectors prioritized in the respective decentralization policies
Mr. Ibrahim, the Mayor of Sheik town speaking during the meeting said, “I would on behalf of the people of Sheik like to welcome all of you gathered here today, this is the first time such a meeting has being held here.
Hon Yusuf Garas , the deputy Minister of Education and Higher learning speaking at the workshop said, “ I Would like to stress that in my previous portfolio I was involved in the works involving the JPLG project, so my advice to you is that every government department should base its work on what’s it has mandated to do and no other.
Hon Abdiaziz Mohamed Cagaweyne, the deputy Mayor of Hargeisa said, “We have being enlightened by this gathering and we are ready to do whatever is expected from us and also we are committed to fulfill our duties and be accountable as elected representatives of people.
Hon Mohamed Amin Omer, the Mayor of Gabiley speaking during the one day validation workshop stressed the need for local government authorities and the central government to cooperate in delivering vital services to the public.
Among those attending the one day validation workshop the Mayors of Sheik, Hargeisa, Burco , Borama, Saylac and the Governor of Sahil Region.
UNCDF is part of UN-JPLG Programme. The UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG) in Somalia is a joint programme of ILO, UNCDF, UNDP, UN-HABITAT and UNICEF. JPLG that commenced in 2008 for an initial phase of 5 years is now in its second phase (2013-2017). JPLG works with the Federal Government of Somalia, the Governments of Somaliland Republic and Puntland State of Somalia, local governments, communities and non-state actors. The JPLG overall objective is; Local governance contributes to peace and equitable priority service delivery in their selected locations’. The Joint Programme has two specific objectives which are:
a) Communities have equitable access to basic services through local government;
b) Local governments are accountable and transparent.
The Programme is aligned to the Somali Compact, the programming frameworks of the Somaliland Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) 2008-2012, and the ongoing PFM reforms in Somaliland led by the specific governments with support from the World Bank and other development partners. The UN JPLG is also in line with the UNCDF Corporate Strategy and the Business Plan of the Local Development Finance Practice for 2014-2017.
The overall programmatic scope of JPLG II remains largely unchanged, but places greater emphasis on promoting legislative reforms, institutionalizing innovations introduced during Phase I, expanding to more districts, especially in the Federal Government of Somalia region (South Central Somalia), and strengthening the management of the Programme. As before, JPLG II makes concerted efforts to address human rights, gender and women in local government, and good governance principles of transparency, accountability and civic participation.
UNCDF plays a vital role in designing and implementing the Local Development Fund mechanism for Somaliland, following its experiences with Local Development Programmes, Local Development funds and fiscal decentralization in Least Developed Countries. The LDF is perceived as a key mechanism to enhance sustainable and responsive social service delivery in Somaliland, and provides a space for capacity building, piloting of systems and procedures, comprehensive planning at local level and accountability measures; ultimately leading towards a formalized fiscal decentralization system in Somaliland for enhanced service delivery. As part of enhancing sustainable service delivery and participatory development, UNCDF has been supporting implementation of LDF in Somaliland since 2011.
Further to implementation of the LDF, UNCDF is mandated to support the rollout of the recently approved fiscal decentralization policy as part of the Decentralization policies of Somaliland adopted in 2014. In the Decentralization Policies of Somaliland a number of policy statements were agreed that need to be further articulated as a separate document with a road map for their rollout proposed.
In this context and to respond to its increased role in supporting the fiscal decentralization process, local revenue mobilization initiative and the related subnational level PFM reforms, UNCDF/JPLG seeks to hired ODI to provide support Somaliland to develop an overall Local Government Financing Framework (Fiscal Decentralization Strategy) that ensures financing of all aspects of service delivery that are under the mandate to LGs and avoids the proliferation of funding mechanisms/grants.