Fis­cal de­cen­tral­iza­tion key to achiev­ing the 12th Five Year Plan and the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Re­porter

Anew re­port was launched by the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­er­nance un­der the Min­istry of Home & Cul­tural Af­fairs last Mon­day, with the sup­port of UNDP and UN En­vi­ron­ment out­lines the op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove the cur­rent fis­cal de­cen­tral­iza­tion frame­work.

The re­port was launched by Lungten Dorji, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­er­nance along with Mr. Ger­ald Daly, Res­i­dent Co­or­di­na­tor/Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the UN in Bhutan and Dr. Dechen Tser­ing, Re­gional Di­rec­tor for Asia and the Pa­cific, UN En­vi­ron­ment.

This as­sess­ment comes at the right time, as lo­cal gov­ern­ments are ex­pected to re­ceive sig­nif­i­cantly larger re­sources, 50% of the re­source al­lo­ca­tion un­der the up­com­ing 12th Five Year Plan pe­riod.

The nine rec­om­men­da­tions in the re­port speak to the Sec­tion 18 of the Con­sti­tu­tion ded­i­cated to the role of cen­tral gov­ern­ment to sup­port lo­cal gov­ern­ments with ad­e­quate fi­nan­cial re­sources, al­lo­cat­ing pro­por­tion of na­tional rev­enue to sub­na­tional bor­row­ing.

Is­sues cov­ered in­clude the re­source al­lo­ca­tion for­mula, link­age with the gov­ern­ment per­for­mance man­age­ment sys­tem, own source rev­enues at the lo­cal gov­ern­ment level, a rev­enue shar­ing mech­a­nism, and the ca­pac­ity to plan and im­ple­ment an en­hanced fis­cal de­cen­tral­iza­tion, be­sides also re­view­ing the po­ten­tial im­pacts of the cap­i­tal grants on the pro-poor en­vi­ron­ment and cli­mate ser­vice de­liv­ery at the lo­cal level.

Speak­ing at the launch, Lungten Dorji said, “We be­lieve that the Fis­cal De­cen­tral­iza­tion Re­port of­fers a unique op­por­tu­nity to mo­ti­vate all the stake­hold­ers to re­ex­am­ine their role in the process and to re­fo­cus on in­creas­ing democ­racy and good gov­er­nance in our coun­try.”

Rec­og­niz­ing the im­por­tance of the rec­om­men­da­tions, the UN Res­i­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mr. Ger­ald Daly said, “We are con­scious of how the Geog De­vel­op­ment Grants are dis­bursed and dur­ing field trips to the East we en­gaged in dis­cus­sions around Leav­ing No One Be­hind; the ben­e­fits of a strong econ­omy should not leave out the vul­ner­a­ble.”

Re­fer­ring to UN En­vi­ron­ment’s key ex­per­tise in help­ing gov­ern­ments plan and bud­get for the en­vi­ron­ment, Dr. Dechen Tser­ing from UN En­vi­ron­ment said, we need to en­sure that en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and vul­ner­a­bil­ity to cli­mate change and nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are an in­te­gral part of in­ter-gov­ern­ment fis­cal trans­fer and rev­enue shar­ing mech­a­nism. We also need to ex­plore in­no­va­tive col­lab­o­ra­tions with civil so­ci­ety and pri­vate sec­tor part­ners in this re­gard.”

The Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness Com­mis­sion has en­cour­aged the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­er­nance to re­flect the find­ings of the as­sess­ment in the new De­cen­tral­iza­tion Pol­icy of Bhutan.

The re­port was pre­pared with the sup­port of the UNDP-UN En­vi­ron­ment Poverty-En­vi­ron­ment Ini­tia­tive (PEI). The pro­gramme has been work­ing in Bhutan since 2007 to sup­port Bhutan to ad­dress the grow­ing chal­lenges in bal­anc­ing de­vel­op­ment pri­or­i­ties with the need for en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.

The pro­gramme works with the Gross Na­tional Hap­pi­ness Com­mis­sion, the Depart­ment of Lo­cal Gov­er­nance and the Min­istry of Fi­nance to in­te­grate gen­der, en­vi­ron­ment, cli­mate change, dis­as­ter risk re­duc­tion and poverty re­duc­tion in pol­i­cy­mak­ing, plan­ning and pro­grammes.

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