Municipal finances are central to many new urban and local governance projects, as their strategic management plays a critical role in ensuring long-term sustainability of local services and infrastructure. However, the tightening of fiscal constraints and the pressure from the global financial and economic downturn require increasingly sophisticated responses from local governments in mobilizing and utilizing financial resources. A first outline of this training product was piloted in a municipal finances core course for World Bank staff in November 2010 that strongly underscored the demand for and reconfirmed the curriculum.
Presently, municipal budgets, in most cases, cover operating costs and recurrent expenditures, but cannot sufficiently cover capital investments. One key issue faced by local governments is how to expand their resource base beyond transfers. Shortcomings often remain hidden, appearing in the form of missed opportunities, low financial gains or overspending for services. Stakeholders are keen to integrate new ideas/tools on expenditures management, tax base identification, local tax collection, etc. In addition, local governments have potential access to large sources of external funding, but often do not know how to tap these resources. They are keen to get support on how to program priority investments and prepare projects that can attact funding. For those local governments who are in better shape and can qualify for capital market access, preserving their creditworthiness and sound municipal borrowing practices are key challenges. In all cases, improved governance practices and enhanced accountability mechanisms (e.g., public transparency of budgets, customer service contracts for public utilities, adequate public asset management, clear monitoring of the performance of local governments) have become central to sound city government and municipal management.
This course will enhance knowledge and skills of local governments, particularly of medium and large cities, on municipal finances, including performance measurement, managing revenues and expenditures, local assets and services, and external resource mobilization. The training will focus on the perspective of local governments and will provide tools and how-to instruments to improve the management and transparency of local finances.
Application deadline May 27 2013