On February 1-3, 2017, in Skopje, Macedonia, Urban Partnership Program (UPP) organized an Urban Audit (UA) and Municipal Finance Self-Assessment (MFSA) technical workshop. The workshop gathered representatives from five Macedonian municipalities engaged in UPP: Kocani (UA and MFSA); Kriva Palanka (UA and MFSA); Strumica (UA and MFSA); Gazi Baba (UA); and Kisela Voda (MFSA).
Focus of the workshop was presenting the status and progress of MFSA and UA implementation in each of the Macedonian municipalities. Participants had the opportunity to present their work and results of using MFSA/UA tools, benefits as well as challenges and how to overcome them. Tools were used to prepare multi annual budgets, local economic development strategies, as well as to prioritize projects, attract domestic and foreign investors and improve the overall economic environment on local level.
During the workshop participants discussed Risk strategies, Capital Investment Planning (CIP), Local Economic Development (LED) strategies. Municipalities raised the issue of the tight budget process and budget calendar in Macedonia. Certain mitigation to the risks associated with the narrow budget calendar and the central government pass through of delays to the local government budget matters might be mitigated with preparation of proper mid-term budget framework and earlier preparation of proper strategic documents at local level.
One of the key outcomes of the workshop was identifying the necessity to ensure the cooperation between the different sectors of Local Government to secure efficient management, especially cooperation with the public procurement sector.
Finally, all participants confirmed commitment for continuation of their use of UA and MFSA as tools for creditworthiness, efficient screening of public finances, project identification and prioritization, O&M modelling for the development part of the budget, fiscal transparency, as well as inclusion of citizens to participate in matters of local government.
The municipalities appreciated the opportunity to address and discuss important issues of joint interest and provide support to one another by sharing their experiences and learnings.