City and Town Councils improve Revenue Collection and Expenditure Print E-mail
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Thursday, 25 July 2013 00:00

Participants  of the workshopBelmopan, Wednesday, 24th July 2013:
The final report on the Revenue Enhancement Support Program (RESP) for all city and town councils in Belize was presented this morning at the George Price Centre for Peace and Development in Belmopan.

The RESP was carried out by Peter Doty and Edmund Zuniga, Financial Consultants, as part of the capacity building component of the Belize Municipal Development Project (BMDP) during a period of 18 months.

The main objective of the RESP was to strengthen the capacity of the local city and town councils to become more effective in carrying out their responsibilities with a view to attain financial sustainability through enhanced financial position by increasing revenue collection and improving efficiency in expenditure.

The technical assistance was carried out to achieve the above aim, through the implementation of recommendations of the Municipal Finance and Revenue Enhancement Report and other practical and innovative suggestions for revenue enhancement and finance management.

In the execution of their duties, both consultants analyzed a number of issues. These included the analysis of current status of reporting to the Ministry of Local Government, assessing the current levels of annual financial commitments of the various towns and city councils (TCCs) for maintenance of municipal infrastructure and other capital assets; revenue generation, including identifying new sources of funding, identification of priorities for the improvement of municipal finance and develop a work program for implementation among others.

The BMDP is a $30 million Government of Belize project being financed through the World Bank and implemented by the Social Investment Fund (SIF). The project is focusing on three main components namely: Municipal Infrastructure Investments, Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for Town and City Councils and Central Government and Project Management and Administration.

Under phase I of the BMDP, 19 streets have been paved in the seven participating municipalities; the Punta Gorda Town Council Administration Building and adjacent town hall were also rehabilitated while renovation of the Dangriga town market is currently underway. This represents approximately $7.8 Million in infrastructure investments throughout the municipalities. These include Benque Viejo del Carmen, San Ignacio/Santa Elena, Belmopan, Dangriga, Punta Gorda,  Orange and Corozal.

Under its capacity building component, the BMDP is providing training on municipal development planning to seven municipal bodies and has strengthened their revenue enhancement capabilities through the provision of training, computer equipment and accounting software.  In addition, training on physical asset inventory and maintenance planning, public relations officers and traffic managers, including a public education program for road users is being provided.

Meanwhile, preparations are underway to initiate phase II of the BMDP.   This will see a further investment of approximately $13.0 Million in infrastructure development in the municipalities throughout Belize.
Present at this morning for the presentation of the final report were Mayors and Deputy Mayors of all city and town councils, Town Administrators, members of the BMDP Project Steering Committee, Chief Executive Officers from various Ministries as well as representatives of the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Social Investment Fund