Urban municipal financing system of Jamaica

Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy. Since 2013 the country led a local government reform focused on the promulgation of strategic laws empowering local governance. In 2015 the country made a local governance bill with the aim, as the Ministry of Local Government states, to provide for the comprehensive reform of Jamaica’s local government system, through which Local Authorities will be granted greater scope and autonomy in the management of local affairs. The instrument created is the Parochial Revenue fund (PRF) which is controlled and managed by the central government and collects the principal income of local governments which are paid in accordance with the Property Tax Act and Road Traffic Act, the first being the most important source of revenue for the local authorities.

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Financing instruments

Select the type of Financing instruments from the following list:
  • Horizontal-inter-municipal transfers

    This type of income comes from the remaining ten per cent of property tax, where parish councils apply to the Minister for that fund on a needs basis. 

  • Tax

    The Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Act is the result of a process of decentralization by the government of Jamaica to empower local governments.

Legal base

Territorial entity analyzed
1. Municipal
Recognized local autonomy

The autonomy of the local government in Jamaica is partial and mainly administrative with their finances approved and regulated by the central government.

Art. 5

Parliament may make provision-  a. for local authorities to generate and spend their own revenue;  b. for assigning functions between the various tiers of government;  c. relating to the manner in which local authorities are constituted and the nature and extent of their functions;  d. ...

Art. 51(1)

Subject to subsection (5), each Council of a Municipal Corporation or City Municipality may, in respect of the area within its jurisdiction –  (a) make by-laws for the regulation of its own proceedings, and of its committees, and for the regulation, management, use and upkeep of any pub...

Own resources
Art. 13

(1) For the purposes of this Act, there shall be established, under the control and management of a public officer designated for that purpose  by the Minister  a)        a fund to be called the Parochial Revenue Fund; and  b)        a fund to be called the Equalization Fund. (2) There ...

Art. 14 (1) 1.(a) 2 (b)

(1) Subject to subsection (3), there shall be paid out of the Parochial Revenue Fund to each Municipal Corporation, not later than the last day in each month in respect of amounts received by the Fund as property tax and licence duties in the preceding month, an amount equivalent to –  ...

Special regime
Taxation powers

There is a relative autonomy that the local government has regarding their tributary and financial faculties. As it is stated in The Local Government (Financing and Financial Management) Act the local authority has to submit an operational budget and capital budget to the Minister of Local Government & Community Development and have little flexibility to make changes during the budget time approved except from certain circumstances.

Art. 12

The funds of, or payable to and collected by a Local Authority under this Act or any other enactment shall, after due provision is made with the approval of the Minister for interest on, and amortization of, any loans or debts for which the Local Authority is liable or responsible under...

Art. 3

(1) On or before the thirty-first day of October in each year, a Local Authority shall submit to the Minister for approval –  (a) an operational budget, showing in detail the estimated income receivable and expenditure to be incurred during the financial year beginning on the first day ...

Art. 4

(1) Prior to submitting any strategic plan and budget to the Minister for approval under section 3(1)(d), the relevant Local Authority shall ensure that the public is given an opportunity to consider and give feedback on a draft of the strategic plan and budget proposed to be submitted....

Art. 5

(1) Except with the prior approval of the Minister, a Local Authority shall not incur during a financial year any expenditure not provided for in the budgets approved under section 3 for that financial year (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) – (a) a Local Authority may at any time durin...

Competences - Spending responsibilities
Art. 21

(1) Subject to subsection (2), a Local Authority is responsible for the following functions – (a) the carrying out of designated local services and the regulatory oversight of specified local economic and social activities;  (b) promoting, spearheading and coordinating local sustainable...

Art. 4

The purposes of local government shall be to- a. encourage and assist the effective participation of local communities in the affairs of local government;  b. give local authorities.  i. the ability to provide local public services and facilities and to carry out other related activitie...