By Sami Zaptia.
Tunis, 18 December 2015:
Libya’s local government system is still fragmented and has no clear national vision, Abdelbari Shinbaro from . . .[restrict]the Libyan Ministry of Local Government said today.
He was speaking at the UNDP-organized Second Libyan Experts Development Cooperation Forum held in Tunis 17-18 December.
There is still no national vision for decentralization and roles between central and local government are still not clearly defined.
Philip Bottern from the World Bank, on the other hand, noted that only around 1 percent of Libya’s 2013 budget was delivered as funding to regional government. Salaries are still centralized with no real regional revenue raising powers in place.
There is no clear timetable for the devolution of central powers and no formula for funding. It is not clear what percentage of funding is to be provided by the central government and what percentage is to be raised locally, for example.
There is a lack of experience and HR capacity of local government as there has not been any real history or legacy of real local government in the historically very centralized Libya.
Therefore, it was noted that there is a need to transfer knowledge and management skills to local government quickly to enable the new bodies to take up the large range of specialities from the centre.
It was noted that this may have to be a phased process with different regions having different needs and capacities for example urban, coastal and remote rural regions.
A warning was sounded regarding the emergence of some ‘’city states’’ within Libya exercising too much local autonomy outside the prescribed legal framework.
There was a danger it was noted that some regions could take advantage of the transition period of a weak central state and power vacuum in order to help themselves to resources rightly belonging to central agencies.
There was a need for a balance of local autonomy, centralization, proper monitoring and anti-corruption measures, it was noted. [/restrict]