Borama Mayor proud of his district’s achievements

Borama Mayor proud of his District’s achievements

The Mayor of Borama is proud of the service delivery improvements his district has made with the support of the United Nations. The mayor’s pride is reflected in the numerous awards that decorate his desk, including one from the UN Joint Program on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG) for the Best District Council 2009 for projects implementation in Somaliland.  

“I was very excited that my district was awarded the best, and it was not in vain. We always worked hard and that is why you can see other awards here,’’ says Mayor Abdirahman Shide Bille. “As a district we aim for results and we adhere to the laid down procedures. The award provided the district with a good reputation we will now jealously protect, and I, with the rest of the council members, will work hard to continue being the best district in project implementation and service delivery to our people.”

In recent years, Borama has made good progress streamlining its tax payments systems, thanks to two systems implemented by the UN.

UNHABITAT introduced the AIMS (Accounting and Information Management System) in Borama in 2008 under the Somalia Urban Development Program (SUDP). BIMS (Billing and Information Management System) was setup in 2010 as part of the JPLG’s work to help councils improve revenue collection and records management, increasing their efficiency.

“We are required to generate bills for tax payments this time of the month. The Mayor requires them in the next few hours,” explains Abdirahman Ahmed, a staff member who works in the administration and finance building. “We have seen improved revenue collections, timely reporting, ease of records access and retrieval, revenue projections and reduced costs, hence overall efficiency that must have contributed to us being rated the best district”.

Rashid from NGO Terre Solidali travels to a number of districts in Somaliland to train clerks on the two accounting management systems. He said, “Before the AIMS and BIMS systems were available, it would take days, even weeks to generate bills and the whole process was cumbersome. It was also costly since many clerks were involved.”

Rebuilding Roads

The UN’s JPLG has also helped Borama improve its infrastructure by funding the rehabilitation of two roads (Sh. Osman and Sh. Ali Jowhar) in the district. The rebuilt roads have eased the travel of  people, goods and services to the local market, benefitting thousands.

 “We used to pay a lot of money to travel across and transport goods. We now pay very little. Our children easily access the schools, the sick easily reach hospitals and business people easily ferry goods to the local markets”, explains Dahir Alale Mihile, the Chairman of the local development committee.

The Best District Council award was designed to encourage local governments to improve their performance and reinforce the link between capacity development and funding for local development. Councils were assessed on criteria including the availability of the District Development Framework (DDF); the level of completion of the project; and the level of operation of completed projects.

“The JPLG has enabled the council to implement projects that we would not have carried out due to the limited resources and capacities,” says Mayor Bille. “Our image as a council has improved tremendously. Our collaboration with the community has also improved owing to transparency and accountability.”

The UN Joint Program on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery (JPLG) was established in April 2008, and is a joint effort of UNDP, UN-Habitat, UNICEF, ILO and UNCDF. The JPLG is a five-year program providing support to Somali central and local government institutions. The overall objective of the JPLG is that local governance contributes to peace and equitable priority service delivery in selected locations in all three zones of Somalia. The specific objectives are that communities have access to basic services through local government and that district councils are accountable and transparent.

The JPLG participating UN agencies provide extensive support to a series of central government institutions and local authorities in the three zones, and currently provide support to strengthening of local government institutions and service delivery in 10 target district in Somaliland and Puntland and one upcoming target district in South central Somalia, and to service delivery through civil society and the private sector in all sixteen districts in Benadir/Mogadishu. JPLG works at three inter-related levels: i) policy development, ii) capacity development, and iii) implementation of services through local government institutions and public-private partnerships.

It receives funding from EC, USAID, DANIDA, SIDA, NORWAY and ITALY.