By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 10 February 2015:
The local government ministry in the Tripoli-based Hassi administration has approved changes to rules that . . .[restrict]will enable cash-strapped municipal councils to raise local revenues and spend the money as well.
Currently there is a contradiction between Law 59, which set up the municipalities, and the Finance Law. The former gave municipal authorities the right to raise income although it did not identify how. On the other hand, under the existing Finance Law, any money raised by local authorities has to be paid into the Finance Ministry’s bank account. It can be then returned to them in budget allocations if approved in the government’s budget. But there is no guarantee of it.
It means, for example, that if a local authority rents space for a billboard, the money has to go the Finance Ministry not to local coffers.
The contradiction is a legacy of the Qaddafi regime which often made bureaucracy as complicated as possible.
Although Law 59 did not specify where municipal revenue could come from, the Central Committee for Municipal Council Elections has identified some 130 different sources. As well as billboards, these include parking, fines, libraries, cemetery spaces, issuing of licences and documents and rent and sales of municipal property.
According to the Tripoli-based offices of the Libyan news agency LANA, the local government ministry has now identified a number of funds that can be raised, administered and spent locally without handing them over to the finance ministry. Proposed amendments to the legislation are to be drawn up.
The Thinni administration, which like its rival in Tripoli is unable to provide much cash to local councils is also looking at other means of funding them. On Sunday he together with Deputy PM and Head of Services Abdussalam Elbadri and Economy and Industry Minister Muneer Ali Asr met representatives from a number of municipalities in the east of the country to discuss their funding problems.
The issue is a major headache for all municipalities irrespective of which parliament and government they support.
Only this morning, Tobruk Municipal Council had a meeting to investigate possible sources of revenue in the municipality and how to ensure that the money raised was spent in Tobruk. [/restrict]