Garowe, Puntland, Somalia, August 2021- The mobile phone-based tax payment system in Garowe, supported by UN-Habitat, through the Joint Programme on Local Governance (JPLG) is being expanded to four more districts in Puntland in northern Somalia.

The local government of Garowe has recorded a three times increase in local revenue mainly from properties, business and public transport taxation. This mobile money payment and digital taxation system, implemented through the Puntland Ministry of Interior, has seen the successful implementation of financial management, receipt processing and generation of bills through the digital system which has increased transparency.

“The implementation of Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and mobile taxation has boosted the overall revenue management at the local government and new revenue streams, such as transportation tax, have been tapped. The digital tax payment system has resulted in improved public trust through transparency and accountability,” said Mohamed Jama Isse, the Administration and Finance Director of Garowe district.

In a bid to upscale the programme and in partnership with the Puntland Ministry of Interior and Golis, a local telecommunication company, the programme expanded digital taxation and mobile money tax payment system to four more districts; Bosaso, Burtinle, Galkayo and Gardo.

A peer learning and experience sharing workshop for local government on IFMIS and revenue collection was held. It culminated in a site visit to Garowe, the pioneer district to showcase how the system has improved Garowe’s daily service delivery and  narrowed the gap between  financial resources and municipal spending needs.

“The main aim of this peer learning workshop was to showcase the success made in Garowe which initially piloted the mobile based taxation system and realized the dream of local government financial system digitization thanks to the Garowe mayor” said Abdirizak Ali, Municipal Finance officer at UN-Habitat.

Forty participants (35 male and five female) attended the five-day workshop  was held in Garowe which brought together technical staff and directors from the Ministry of Finance and Ministry Interior from Puntland, revenue directors, accountants and revenue collection staff from the five districts to share their experience and best practices to support  the upscaling of the programme to other districts.

With the national priorities being the introduction of E-governance in all service deliveries and local government key functions,  Mohamed Ali Nor, the Director General at Puntland’s, Ministry of Interior, Federal Affairs and Democracy remarked that it was impressive to see local government finance directors and the technical teams sitting together to share experiences and lessons learned on mobile money payment systems and overall IFMIS implementations.