The New Missions of Local Authorities amidst budget pressures

The New Missions of Local Authorities amidst budget pressures

November 23, 2017 Local Elections : harbingers of an uncertain future ?

A presidential decree to call for the elections of the Municipalities and Governorates assemblies scheduled it to take place on Thursday, November 23, 2017. We propose well in advance of these local elections to review the New Missions of Local Authorities amidst budget pressures.
The crisis linked to the fall in the price of oil and its impact on the country’s budget must bring the authorities to change their discourse on the economic role of both the central State and Local Authorities.
The pursued policies in recent years regarding the Local Authorities management need to be reviewed, because the era of transfers of the State budgets to overcome deficits of management is over. Sources of funding because of budget restrictions would have to move in the direction of a rationalisation of expenditure; management in Local Authorities remains imprinted with a strong tendency to spending.

Local Authorities’ welfare of local business/citizens

The Department of Municipal Affairs made up of 48 Local Authorities (Wilayas or provincial councils as shown in the map below) and 1541 towns and cities (APC) that must have other missions than to be limited to one stop shop windows for support of certain basic public services other than by relying mainly on the State budget.

Reports prepared by the services of this Department show a negative record of boosting the local economy, taxes being insufficiently recovered, some goods are exploited without compensation and others diverted from their vocation. Local officials in the future must have a vision and visibility for the development of their municipalities, considering the specific features and potential of each and the aspirations of its citizens, officials of governorates and elected officials looking for interest restricted to patronage, and populist discourse without projection into the future.

The collection of local taxes, not being a priority, local authorities have not directed significant funds allocated by the State to the valorisation and the case of multiple resources available to them. For the efficient management of the spaces, it comes to have a snapshot of the current situation. In the Algerian system, as recalled earlier, local authorities are essentially constituted of entities assisted by a State which, in addition to its own prerogatives, was intended to be the single manager of the economy.

Local officials were then only performers of policies and decisions taken at central level and which were reflected at the municipal level by the completion of actions and programmes in arbitration hearing by the central organ of the planning, annual plans and budgets. For example, in addition to highly directional guidance involved already allocated programs, municipalities and governorates were under the close supervision of the central State through the Ministry of the Interior.

The State supported virtually all social policy and management of land and urban planning. Guidelines were thus given at one time to the governorates, for the transfer of land for building and all the housing policy was almost entirely entrusted to the governorates. This situation resulted in a disempowerment of the central authority whilst de-responsibilise governors whom with their sub governors and head of cities were directly confronted with all citizens’ grumbling, which is driven by the needs of housing, quality of life, employment and other.

Anarchy as currently evidenced by growth and disorderly extensions of our cities, and especially the largest of them, can only increase, if we continue to accept that local authorities are still left to themselves to meet, under duress, all social demand for space to build. Because, excessive centralization, promotes an mod-operandi of authoritarian management of public affairs, governance by Decree, i.e. a governance that is needed by the force and authority away from the real needs of the populations and produces the blocking of society.

History clearly shows that if centralization was necessary in a first phase, it quickly reaches its limits and the countries that have developed real decentralisation and not de concentration only, synchronizing local and central governance are those to have succeeded best in their development. A reorganization of local authorities whose base is the city, for a more participative and citizen oriented society would assuming other ways of managing departments in the central State be best in the current entanglement.

It is in this context that local authorities should appear as unifying all initiatives that contribute to the improvement of the territorial space and make the transition from welfare fed communities to locally committed companies and citizens responsible for their own development and marketing of their respective territory. More generally, the implementation of effective decentralization involving the local players, must lead to better real Government as felt as such by the population, the argument of base residing in geographic proximity.

This would mean that there is a local solution to a local problem and that this is necessarily better than a national solution.

The structure that seems most appropriate to create such dynamism, is that of regional Chambers of Commerce that bring together State, public and private enterprise, banks, professional training centres, and universities.

Decentralization means not de concentration

The process of decentralization, a modern State must allow local communities, to take all prerogatives and all means enabling them to ensure full responsibility for management of their respective territories, while preserving the uniqueness of the national policies and strategies which, generally, must transcend local conditions. In addition to the redesign of the status of the local administration, it goes without saying that new prerogatives resulting for the local authority can be exercised only if they are accompanied by a reform of local finances.

Thus, every local Governorate must have a separate budget and a certain autonomy of its use, so that the citizen can judge the capacity of the local administration to manage its territory of residence and to improve their living conditions. At the same time, the State must safeguard its fundamental missions of guarantor of everything that makes the interests of the national community (cohesion and social justice, preservation of public heritage, equal opportunities for the development of all citizens).

Autonomy of the local management may be exercised in respect of policies and strategies that the State implements, both to adjust and guide the economic and social development of the country, to help and organize the equitable development and management of all components of the national space. The full success of this eminently political complex process involves querying the role of the State and its articulation with the market in the future socio – economic strategy, which refers to both local and international mode of governance.

All the mentioned previously actions would involve a reappraisal of the current political, social and economic arrangements that must be based on good governance, on the knowledge economy and on entrepreneurs of wealth creation within a context of the rule of law. The goal is to foster a participatory and citizen society through the restructuring of the party system as well as civil society as a powerful network of mobilization to avoid confrontation direct citizens/security forces.   


Opportunity in Government Productivity Analysis

Opportunity in Government Productivity Analysis

All leaders in all countries of the MENA region would be well inspired in reading this write up of McKinsley Center for Government (MCG). It is a closer look at through a review of all sectors opportunity in government productivity analysis and in its report’s executive summary, it (MCG) as ‘a global hub for research, collaboration, and innovation in government productivity and performance’ holds that ‘its mission is to help governments and non-governmental institutions improve the lives of citizens worldwide and to help solve the world’s most pressing economic and social issues.’
In a few words, the report studied ways that productivity and opportunity for improvement in various developed countries government departments, etc. is measured. It also showed shortcomings and / or limited progress on measuring government productivity when comparing these countries’ differing performances as it were of certain obvious sectors of governement activities literally department by department.

The opportunity in government productivity

Governments face a pressing question: How to do more with less? Raising productivity could save $3.5 trillion a year—or boost outcomes at no extra cost.

Higher costs and rising demand have driven rapid increases in spending on core public services such as education, healthcare, and transport—while countries must grapple with complex challenges such as population aging, economic inequality, and protracted security concerns. Government expenditure amounts to more than a third of global GDP, budgets are strained, and the world public-sector deficit is close to $4 trillion a year

At the same time, governments are struggling to meet citizens’ rising expectations. Satisfaction with key state services, such as public transportation, schools, and healthcare facilities, is less than half that of nonstate providers, such as banks or utilities.

Governments need a way to deliver better outcomes—and a better experience for citizens—at a sustainable cost. A new paper by the McKinsey Center for Government (MCG), Government productivity: Unlocking the $3.5 trillion opportunity, suggests that goal is within reach. It shows that several countries have achieved dramatic productivity improvements in recent years—for example, by improving health, public safety, and education outcomes while maintaining or even reducing spending per capita or per student in those sectors.

If other countries were to match the improvements already demonstrated in these pockets of excellence, the world’s governments could potentially save as much as $3.5 trillion a year by 2021—equivalent to the entire global fiscal gap. Alternatively, countries could choose to keep spending constant while boosting the quality of key services. For example, if all the countries studied had improved the productivity of their healthcare systems at the rate of comparable best performers over the past 5 years, they would have added 1.4 years to the healthy life expectancy of their combined populations. That translates into 12 billion healthy life years gained, without additional per capita spending.

It’s imperative that governments find a way to unlock that productivity opportunity. The challenge is that, until now, there’s been limited progress on measuring government productivity—even though productivity is a well-established and vital measure of the performance of national economies and private-sector businesses. As a result, it is difficult for governments to gauge the true return on spending, and debate is often focused on how to increase inputs and not the quality of outputs. Governments typically find it challenging to identify improvement opportunities by learning from other countries, or from other regions or sectors within the same country.


To help close this gap, MCG built a comprehensive database and benchmarking methodology—the Government Productivity Scope—to start to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of government expenditure. MCG applied the tool across 42 countries that together make up 80 percent of global GDP, focusing on seven sectors: healthcare; primary, secondary, and tertiary education; public safety; road transport; and tax collection. The research was supplemented with insights from more than 50 interviews with government leaders and more than 200 case studies. This paper presents the first version of MCG’s analysis, which we will continue to extend and refine in dialogue with government leaders and academic experts.

The initial findings point to dramatic differences in countries’ relative productivity. Even among comparable countries with very similar outcomes, the least-efficient government currently spends more than twice as much per unit of output as its most-efficient peer. And while most countries have struggled to contain spending growth, in every sector MCG found examples of governments that have reduced expenditure per unit while experiencing improved outcomes.

These differences point to a tremendous opportunity for governments to boost productivity, save money, and achieve better outcomes for citizens. To realize that opportunity, though, governments need to deepen their functional capabilities in four key areas: finance, commercial, digital technology and data analytics, and talent management. As MCG shows, pioneering countries have reimagined and strengthened these functions so they play a more strategic leadership role in pursuing efficiency and improving outcomes. Across these areas, those governments have adopted an ambitious, structured approach to transform the effectiveness of the state.

Shaping Future Governments Summit

Shaping Future Governments Summit

The OECD in their article covering the World Government Summit  to be held in Dubai during this coming week goes as follows :

Shaping the future of government worldwide

The World Government Summit, taking place on the 8-10 of February 2016, is a global forum dedicated to shaping the future of government.

The OECD is a key strategic partner in the summit which brings together over 3500 high level ministers, government officials, experts, representatives from the private sector and civil society to discuss the future of government and public service delivery.

Since its inauguration in 2013 the MENA Governance programme contributes to the summit with keynote speakers, participation in expert discussion panels, pre-summit meetings and discussion papers such as: “Rebooting Public Service Delivery – How can Open Government Data help to drive Innovation?”, “An exploratory look at public sector innovation in GCC” and a Report on Gender Public Policies in the UAE.

Read more in the OECD‘s article covering of the event.  WGS Dubai 2016

Obama to address the Dubai’s World Government Summit

Emirates 24|7  published Saturday, 6 February 2016 an article on the possibility that US President Barack Obama will  . . . 

This article is available to members of MENA-Forum only.
address Dubai’s World Government Summit Fourth edition from February 8 to 10 in Dubai.   (more…)