Since 2008, Terre Solidali – in collaboration with UN-HABITAT, the Ministry of Interior, and local governments – has designed and introduced a computerized accounting system and billing and revenue collection system in order to improve Somaliland’s local government financial management. Currently, six municipalities are fully using the automated system and have achieved clear successes.
Before the introduction of these information technology systems, municipal financial management in Burao was entirely a manually system, i.e. time-consuming, unreliable, and prone to low transparency and frequent mistakes. Now, however, things are different.
As an end-user of these systems, I can summarize some key advantages:
- AIMS (Accounting Information Management System) has enabled easier and more accurate financial data entry.
- Financial reports and budgets are readily available for managers, providing information for better and timely decision making.
- The system saves time in the preparation of reports and allows for improved control of income and expenses.
- AIMS leads to easier bank reconciliation and error detection and allows for faster recall of transactions.
- BIMS (Billing Information Management System) has simplified employee billing and revenue collection and has increased accountability.
- BIMS has increased income from property tax, business licences, and rental houses.
- BIMS keeps the historical data of customers for future analysis and decision making.
These information technology systems have greatly improved Burao Municipality’s financial management. Municipal employees are now paid regularly and municipal financial transactions conform to the relevant governmental regulations. With municipal revenue maximized, the municipality is now in a better position to play its mandated role – delivering services, co-funding development projects, and funding community priority interventions.
These steps could not have been taken without the commitment of Mayor Mohamoud Ahmed Hassan, whose constant guidance and support was crucial. Similarly, UN-HABITAT/UN Joint Programme on Local Governance and Decentralized Service Delivery/Terre Solidali technical support was fundamental for the initiative’s success.