Under the umbrella of the EU-funded Local Area Development Programme (LADP), the UN-Habitat team has worked closely with focal points of four pilot municipalities in the south of Iraq: the city of Basra in Basra Governorate; Al Rumaitha in Al Muthanna; Ali Al-Gharbi in Maysan; and Al Shamiya in Qadissiya, to assess their capacity to raise municipal revenues, manage expenditures and execute their budgets for the improvement of key urban services.
Having guided counterparts through the gathering and analysis of financial data, the team observed the lack of systemic methodology for financial data reporting and found major inefficiencies in revenue collection in the municipalities. Above all, it has identified a range of legal, organizational and policies bottlenecks that hinder the capacity of the local authorities to locally finance improved service delivery, as well as missed opportunities to leverage municipal property values.
The findings of the first assessment phase were summarized in Brief #1 drafted in October 2017. The Brief, widely shared with counterparts, provides an overview on current municipal finances, municipal revenues and spending, offers a set of pragmatic recommendations on the general framework of municipal finances — looking into the legal functions of municipalities, their accounting management and auditing setup, modes for revenue collection, the public perception of municipal services, the need for a taxation reform, coordination of public services, banking sector and technology and the need for qualified human resources.
Brief #2 offers an insight into the income/expenses statements for 2016 of the four selected cities, organized according to the standard classifications of the Iraqi public accounting system.