Municipalities and central level should communicate with a single voice

The KLGI Institute completed the second module of the LGA program by addressing the central-local relations in separate sessions. The focus was put on the strategic aspects, municipal development and reform of the administration through policy coordination, common agendas and adequate funding competences.

Besides that, the regional models were also analyzed, specifically the reform process of local governance that the Republic of Albania has undertaken with the aim of addressing development and European Integration challenges.

Throughout the sessions, discussions and working groups it was emphasized that legal, procedural and functional uncertainties between the levels of government are an enormous obstacle for municipalities in implementing functional competencies and services. As a consequence, municipalities are failing to develop policies and sustainable development plans.

During the discussions, special emphasis was also put on the municipal financial management, taking into consideration that the Law on Local Government Finances aims to strengthen the fiscal autonomy and responsibilities to municipalities for management - in proportion to their competencies to provide services - and at the same time to provide an effective framework for institutional fiscal responsibilty.

Through examples, an analysis was done on areas and functional sectors in municipalities, where it was clear that local government continues to operate in uncertainty, starting from the lack of cohesion policies and legislation, ad-hoc management, complicated procedures, poor oversight and accountability, to the lack of citizen involvement in decision-making.

At the end, the necessity to delay the reform process parallel with the re-view functional decentralization was emphasized. This should be done by addressing the request of going through this process carefully and systematically, sector by sector and functional area by functional area.