Fiscal Decentralization and Local Public Financial Management

Course Description

Fiscal decentralization – in essence, the devolution of expenditure responsibilities and revenue assignments to lower levels of government - has been pursued throughout South Asia and the developing world, for the purpose of enhancing the delivery of public services. However, decentralization has often inadvertently resulted in weak fiscal discipline and poor expenditure management.

With this challenge in mind, this training course in  “Fiscal Decentralization and Local Public Financial Management: Devolving Responsive, Responsible, and Accountable Local Public Finance Management” proposes to provide a detailed overview of the theoretical and applied dimensions of intergovernmental fiscal relations, with particular emphases on improving the design and monitoring of rural fiscal decentralization and on the development of essential financial management skills most required by municipalities in South Asian countries to rise to the challenge of providing urban services in the country’s cities and towns. 

Summary of Proposed Curriculum

An Overview of Fiscal Decentralization

Course Overview: Concept of Fiscal Decentralization and Worldwide Experience

Managing for Value and Improving Performance in Local Government (LG)

Fiscal Decentralization (FD) Core Competencies

a) Expenditure Assignment b) Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers
c) Revenue Assignment and Local Tax d) Sub-national Borrowing

(in sequence of Principles, International Best Practices, and Lessons Learned)

Local Public Finance Management Core Competencies

LG Financial Accounting and Reporting

LG Budgeting and Cash Management

LG Debt Management and Contingent Liability Risk

LG Internal Control, Audit, and Accountability

Bolstering Fiscal Decentralization:  The Way Forward

The Challenges of FD and the Design of Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations

Sequencing Fiscal Decentralization

Decentralizing Civil Servants: Meeting the Human Challenges of FD

Poverty Alleviation under Fiscal Decentralization

Capstone Project: Improving the Design, Monitoring, and Outcomes of FD 

The course develops case studies of fiscal decentralization policies in a variety of developing and transition economies. A number of lectures further focuses on related fiscal policy issues, such as sharing responsibilities for education between different levels of government, revenue opportunities for sub-national governments, and stimulating regional economic growth through tax incentives and subsidies.

This proposed curriculum provides a highly-interactive professional development experience and capability upgrade for local government officials in the principles, tools, and techniques of effective fiscal decentralization.  It places a special emphasis on strengthening skills in four core areas of municipal finance essential to making fiscal decentralization work.  Its overarching learning objective is to “turn theory into practice,” and give participants the understanding and ability to discuss, present, and manage the financial aspects of their agency and influence the performance factors under their control.

This is an indicative curriculum draft.  It will be condensed and then finalized to the specific needs of participants and in further discussions.

We look forward to serving you.