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Measuring intergovernmental fiscal performance in South Africa : issues in municipal grant monitoring (Inglês)

This paper discusses the notion that the design of monitoring systems in decentralized settings is inextricably linked to the design of intergovernmental fiscal instruments. In South Africa, the consolidation of sectoral municipal grants is the predominant feature of its fiscal strategy to empower the local government sphere. Accordingly, the country's approach to measuring intergovernmental and municipal performance has started with a focused initiative on municipal grant monitoring. The grant monitoring agenda has been characterized by efforts (i) to balance both the service delivery and empowerment objectives of decentralization; (ii) to build monitoring systems both in terms of what they measure and how they measure it and in a sequenced manner; and (iii) to complement vertical accountability relationships (from municipalities to central government transferring departments) with horizontal ones (from municipalities to their citizens). In the decade ahead, municipal grant monitoring will play an increasingly important role in helping South Africa chart its governance frontier. This can be achieved in part by measuring the development impact of large consolidated grants; using information to enrich local democratic processes, and benchmarking municipal performance to promote inter-jurisdictional competition. In reviewing the South African experience, the paper offers a point of reference for reforming governments that are concerned with evaluation capacity development, management of fiduciary risks, and results-based management in the context of decentralization.




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