Good governance and decentralisation

Project description

Title: Good governance and decentralisation
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Togo
Lead executing agency: Ministère de l’Administration Territoriale, de la Décentralisation et des Collectivités Locales (MATDCL)
Overall term: 2012 to 2018

Preparing the 2016 participatory municipal budget in Kpalimé GIZ/photographer: TAKOUGNADI Sôssô

Context

The Togolese Republic is currently implementing economic reform and proceeding with the process of decentralisation. This process gained significant momentum following the decision of the Council of Ministers in March 2016 to carry out a strategy plan on decentralisation and municipal elections. Four new prefectures were established. The National Assembly is now deliberating on draft legislation concerning integrated municipalisation. The national programme to develop municipal infrastructure accompanies the draft legislation.

The new draft laws and approach to decentralisation reform triggered a lively debate among the Togolese public on political reforms and local elections. In principal there appears to be political will for decentralisation and the promotion of local self-government. However, government institutions in the capital and provinces lack the resources required, and staff do not yet have the necessary professional skills. The timetable as set out by the Togolese Government provides for municipalities established nationwide to be given democratic legitimacy through subsequent local elections.

Objective

Conditions for implementing the decentralisation process at national and subnational level are improved.

Campaign to raise awareness of the importance of civil status documents for citizens in Sokodé GIZ/photographer: PASSOURI Victorien

Approach

The project team advises those responsible at the decentralisation ministry on drafting a plan of action to implement political, administrative and fiscal decentralisation. Ministry staff participate in training courses to enable them to steer the overall process and integrate dialogue-based communications activities on reform.

The project team has already worked closely with the three medium-sized towns of Kpalimé, Sokodé and Tsévié in the past and is currently continuing these activities. It is advising municipal decision-makers on measures to increase tax revenues and to improve municipal services. It is also supporting cooperation between members of civil society and municipal administration staff with a view to addressing the citizens’ needs.

From late 2016, GIZ and the European Union will assist selected local authorities across the country with improving their governance as part of the programme to consolidate the state and its institutions.

Results

From 2012 to 2016, key foundations were put in place to improve governance in the three medium-sized towns of Kpalimé, Sokodé and Tsévié.

The introduction of local tax registers, standardisation of tax forms and provision of staff training courses have brought about an increase of seven per cent in municipal revenues from taxes and charges compared with the accounting result for 2014. In addition, a new budgetary nomenclature was created, which improves budget planning at the municipal level. These tried and tested practical solutions, which are enhancing efficiency, transparency and citizen focus in the municipalities, have already been prepared for application nationwide.

The project promoted approaches geared to civic self-government by supporting the democratically elected municipal development committees and networks of civil society organisations.

Regional forum: local taxation practices in the municipalities  GIZ/photographer: SESSOU Koffi

The project has successfully fostered constructive cooperation between the municipal authorities and the populace in the three towns. The Togolese tax authority and the Togolese Ministry of Finance are providing direct support for accountability at the municipal level with the introduction of more transparent expenditure control for local governments.