Action area 4: Urban economy and municipal finances


Most of the region's cities are highly dependent on intergovernmental transfers, limiting their autonomy and capacity to finance and guide their urban development. In the decentralization processes, growing gaps have been generated between expenditures and resources at the local level. In terms of urban finance, this has meant the reallocation of functions on the side of expenditures, but not in taxation and financing powers. 

It is essential to strengthening municipal finances, intergovernmental fiscal systems, and instruments and capacities to innovate in funding mechanisms for urban investment. Financing urban development is not only about a challenge of infrastructure and urban services, but also of how to significantly contribute to the reduction of inequalities and inequities within cities, among them, and between their associated territories.


Financing systems related

External resource

The International Aid and Cooperation in Jamaica is managed by the central government and since 2011 has implemented a national strategy called Aid-for-Trade to articulate the country’s priorities for negotiating access to and efficient use of aid and investment to bolster its international trade

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. 


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.

External resource
Public debt

Local authorities in Jamaica in order to contract debt have to request the Ministry’s approval although this practice has been scarcely used.

Own resource

Local governments can collect fees on services performed on behalf of any government agency or line ministry. The revenues of fees include shop licenses, market, building, fines, public amenities, water rate among others.