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National Consultant: Public Finance Expert: Local Revenue Mobilization for Qena and Damietta

Cairo (Egypt)

  • Organization: United Nations Human Settlements Programme
  • Location: Cairo (Egypt)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Banking and Finance
    • Public Policy and Administration
  • Closing Date: 2021-10-28

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Result of Service

The service will ultimately result in promoting local authorities’ awareness and knowledge of any potential/underutilized sources of local revenues, particularly sources not related to land-revenue which entail betterment levy, land value increment taxes and developers extraction. Such knowledge would serve to provide financial room for local authorities.

Work Location

Cairo, Egypt

Expected duration

The consultancy will be for the period of up to 12 months starting from November 2021

Duties and Responsibilities

ORGANIZATIONAL SETTING
UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, is mandated by the UN General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities. It is the focal point for all urbanization and human settlement matters within the UN system.

BACKGROUND
UN-Habitat and the New Urban Agenda (NUA)
The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is the United Nations programme working towards a better urban future. Its mission is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all.

Mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1978 to address the issues of urban growth, it is a knowledgeable institution on urban development processes, and understands the aspirations of cities and their residents. For forty years, UN-Habitat has been working in human settlements throughout the world, focusing on building a brighter future for villages, towns, and cities of all sizes. Because of these four decades of extensive experience, from the highest levels of policy to a range of specific technical issues, UN-Habitat has gained a unique and a universally acknowledged expertise in all things urban. This has placed UN-Habitat in the best position to provide answers and achievable solutions to the current challenges faced by our cities. UN-Habitat is capitalizing on its experience and position to work with partners to formulate the urban vision of tomorrow. It works to ensure that cities become inclusive and affordable drivers of economic growth and social development.

In October 2016, at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development – Habitat III – member states signed the New Urban Agenda. This is an action-oriented document which sets global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities. Through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors, including at all levels of government as well as the private sector, UN-Habitat is applying its technical expertise, normative work and capacity development to implement the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Urbanization is a key driver of development. Hence, sustainable planning and governance of urbanization is crucial to accommodate the rapid population growth, empower cities to optimize the value of urbanization and ensure even development, inclusion and equality. Rapid urbanization presents a unique opportunity to lift millions out of poverty when managed sustainably. However, inadequate urbanization management, doubled with rapid population growth has adversely affected quality of life leading to lack of adequate housing, and increasing inequality. These conditions contribute to diseconomies (e.g., congestion, pollution, displacement) that overtime negatively affects the overall city prosperity, efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.

UN Habitat in Egypt
Established in 2005, UN-Habitat Egypt Programme has been providing technical support to national counterparts on a wide range of urban issues. Adopting an integrated approach, UN-Habitat Egypt has supported reforming and improving urban planning and management through three main sub-programmes, namely, urban planning and design; urban policies, legislation and governance; and urban basic services and mobility.

Urban Policy, Legislation and Governance Programme
The Urban Governance, Policies and Legislation Programme in Egypt works towards tackling the multi-dimensional urbanization context with a special attention to urban management, urban planning, urban economy where all stakeholders are empowered and enabled to engage and play their expected role(s).The programme is working with all stakeholders and on different levels to find new appropriate, realistic and context driven ways of making sure that the urbanization processes are providing acceptable spatial standards and services. The programme is also working towards enhancing the capacity of relevant actors in reforming the legal and institutional framework governing urban development; promoting the empowerment of local government; enhancing land tenure security; establishing processes for participating and inclusive planning process; enhancing local economic development and social entrepreneurs. The programme provides legislation enhancement and policies development support on the national level in order to replicate and scale up all of its successful interventions.

“Hayenna” – Integrated Urban Development Project
In 2018, the Ministry of Housing, Utilities, Urban Communities (MoHUUC), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the General Organization for Physical Planning (GOPP), the UN-Habitat and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Cooperation (SECO) signed three different agreements (the project agreement, the separate agreement, and the contract) governing the Hayenna- Integrated Urban Development Project.

Hayenna project employs an integrated urban development approach to plan the process of urbanization in a way which optimizes and capitalizes the value of urbanization for all, through participatory and inclusive comprehensive planning. The integrated urban development approach transcends the sole focus on physical planning to consider other aspects related to economics, institutional as well as human capacities.

Hayenna project pilots the Participatory and Inclusive Land Readjustment (PILaR) approach, which is a modern methodological framework for land readjustment to developing countries contexts. The PILaR is a mechanism through which land units that have different owners and claimants are combined into a single area through a participatory and inclusive process for unified planning, re-parcelling and development. The development includes serviced urban land delivery made possible by the provision of infrastructure, public space and other urban amenities at a reasonable standard. PILaR relies on negotiated processes that allow local authorities, citizens and groups to articulate their interests, exercise their formally and socially legitimate rights, meet their obligations, and mediate their differences. The PILaR places an emphasis on participation of different stakeholders to ensure inclusive outcome aiming at efficient land management and optimal use of land, improved infrastructure and public space, enhanced local economic development, developed institutional capacity for community engagement and better land vale sharing options to help finance infrastructure.

The project follows the UN-Habitat’s three-pronged approach that combines urban planning and design, public finance management (PFM) and local economic development (LED) in an integrated framework for urban management. The project takes place in two governorates and in two sites in each governorate, Qena and Damietta. Two pilot sites were selected in Qena, al-Humydat and al-Ma’ana. While the sites selection in Damietta is currently taking place.
The underlying terms of reference fall under the second dimension of the project; the PFM.
Local Public Finance Management in Egypt

Egypt’s governance system is centralized where the central government takes control over crucial aspects of local administration, as budgeting and funding, in addition to most of the public service delivery responsibility. It is to be noted that the 2014 Constitution and Local Administration Law empowers economic, administrative and fiscal decentralization, the move towards a decentralized governance system is moving slowly. Important taxes are still being imposed and collected by the central authority, and few of which are left under the control of local authorities. Consequently, more than 85 percent of local government expenditures are being financed by the central government via intergovernmental transfers. Over 80% of those transfers are allocated for salaries, leaving roughly 8 percent for new investment projects falling beyond satisfying the true needs and desires of local citizens.

Fiscal decentralization has long been a concern for the government of Egypt (GoE) as being a part of a comprehensive fiscal and structural reform. In this vein, many projects and studies have pointed to the importance of fiscal decentralization for more spatially balanced development outcomes conditioned on some pre-requisites that should be satisfied.

It should be clear that the PFM component in Hayeena project is not a typical call for fiscal decentralization in Egypt. It rather focuses on how to improve the financial status of the local authorities in light of what is available of revenue sources. In other words, it focuses on the efficiency of local revenue generation given the current fiscal structure. Under the current legislative framework, the local authorities have two main local revenue sources: (1) tax revenues either from taxes levied by the central authorities, of which are the different forms of land-based taxes, or from local fees and charges; (2) non-tax revenues which are mainly returns on owned assets by the governorate (lands or productive projects) and special funds revenues.

The UN Habitat and its partners believe that a comprehensive vision for the role of the local governorate authorities is crucial for the sustainability of land reform and to guarantee the distribution of benefits among the citizens. The financial flexibility of local authorities is indispensable for better service provision and for enabling them to better perform their functions. The novelty of this assignment lies in the fact that it is the first time to have a public finance management, and even local economic development, perspectives being integrated into a land readjustment project.

REPORTING LINE
The consultant will work closely with the Urban Governance, Policies and Legislation Programme and under the direct supervision of the Programme Manager to fulfill the following tasks:

Duties and responsibilities
The consultant will undertake the following responsibilities, for the selected governorates:
(a) Mapping the regulatory framework that governs local budget allocation and local public investment programs in Egypt.
(b) Undertaking a regulatory gap analysis regarding the orientation towards fiscal decentralization and more autonomy for local authorities to manage their revenue sources.
(c) Quantifying and assessing the public revenues from local sources in the assigned governorates, compared to other sources and total local expenditures.
(d) Designing the methodology for surveying asset ownership by the assigned governorates.
(e) Designing a valuation methodology for local public assets and assessment tools for their current operation.
(f) Producing guidelines on new business models that fit the assigned governorates’ productive assets to leverage their profitability.
(g) Producing guidelines on management processes, roles and responsibilities in local asset management
(h) Providing policy recommendations to promote local revenues in the two cases in cooperation with the land-based revenue consultant.
(i) Drafting a manual for enhancing local revenues in cooperation with the land-based revenue consultant.
(j) Preparing and delivering a capacity building program for local officials, this should cover; identification of the relevant stakeholder, the capacity needs assessment for each stakeholder, proposed capacity building intervention for each stakeholder and development of all training materials.
(k) Keeping track of all the steps being undertaken (project documentation) so as to clearly evaluate while submitting the project’s final recommendation and the road for scaling up the experience.

Qualifications/special skills

Academic Qualifications:
Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in economics, political science, public administration, or any related field is required.

Experience:
At least 5 years of relevant practical experiences in Egypt’s public finance system with an exposure to reform programs, development strategies preparation, instructional reform, or relevant projects is required. Experience in conducting fieldwork is required. Familiarity in working with local administration units and local communities is desirable. Previous work experience with international organizations and NGOs is an asset. Publications and research record is an asset.

Language:
Fluency in oral and written English and Arabic is required

No Fee

THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CHARGE A FEE AT ANY STAGE OF THE RECRUITMENT PROCESS (APPLICATION, INTERVIEW MEETING, PROCESSING, OR TRAINING). THE UNITED NATIONS DOES NOT CONCERN ITSELF WITH INFORMATION ON APPLICANTS’ BANK ACCOUNTS.

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Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
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