A clear roadmap for implementing the new legal framework
The focus of the 2015 DL and ML leaves important issues, such as mandates, competencies and procedures, to be developed through the drafting of subsequent bylaws. For instance, the relationships between the elected councils themselves and between the elected councils and other government levels are not yet fully defined. In some cases, lines of accountability are blurred.
An implementation roadmap setting out short-, medium- and long-term objectives would ensure more coherent implementation of both laws and relevant by-laws for key actors, such as the members of the inter-ministerial committee that steers the decentralisation reform. In particular, a more integrated approach could align the activities of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Ministry of Planning and International Co-operation. Although the reform does not push for greater financial decentralisation, the role of the Ministry of Finance in rolling out the reform could be strengthened to ensure that subnational expenditure information is included in development planning, as well as to strengthen fiscal and budgeting capacity at all levels.
Clear responsibilities need to be assigned to each entity across all levels of government for both day-to-day service delivery and in the national development process. The roadmap could outline the tools and systems needed (e.g. data management) to facilitate communication and co-ordination. Through training and dissemination campaigns, roles and procedures should be communicated among public officials, CSOs and citizens to ensure a common understanding of the reform’s implications. In an effort to strengthen transparency, the government could submit an annual progress report on the reform’s implementation to Parliament.