The Government of Tunisia has announced the creation of a Local Finance Reform Commission as part of its decentralisation efforts. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed made the announcement at a local government forum in Tunis 26 March 2019.
The new commission is an important part of supporting fiscal decentralisation and a welcome outcome of the Cities Alliance Tunisia Country Programme.
Cities Alliance has been helping Tunisia navigate the decentralisation process through our Country Programme, which supports strategic city planning, municipal capacity building, and public finance reform, among others.
Tunisia has been undergoing a process of decentralisation since adopting a new constitution in 2014 that laid the groundwork for shifting power from the national to the local level.
The country took a major step forward in 2018, when the national government established a Local Government Code (Code des Collectivités Locales), which sets out the responsibilities and jurisdictions of the municipalities and governorates. The code aims to lessen inequality by devolving the fiscal and operational management of local affairs to elected local governments, including the preparation and implementation of development plans and projects in collaboration with the relevant ministries and institutions.
After the Constitution and the Local Government Code, a third step towards decentralisation should be establishing a public finance and local taxation system for local governments. This would allow cities to have their own revenue resources to pay for the public goods and services they deliver to their populations and boost transparency by holding local governments accountable to residents for how they are spending public funds.
To this end, the Cities Alliance Tunisia Country Programme has been working with the national and local governments to initiate public finance and taxation reform. This included proposing the establishment of a national commission to begin working on the issue of fiscal decentralisation.
Cities Alliance will contribute to the new commission through the Country Programme.
For more about the Prime Minister's announcement and his remarks to mayors, please see https://fr.allafrica.com/stories/201903270818.html