Local Government Finance, Private Resources, and Local Credit Markets in Asia

Publication | October 2003

The ongoing political decentralization in Asia, with central governments devolving to local governments the responsibilities of delivering key development projects and public services, calls for sound local government finance. Local government finance in the region exhibits several problems: deterioration of the fiscal health in many countries, mismatch between the delegated responsibilities and revenue-generating authority, resultant continued heavy reliance on central government transfers, and lack of political will to develop an external financing strategy to tap long-term private resources. In order for local governments to mobilize private savings for long-term infrastructure projects, it is imperative to develop municipal credit markets.

Two models of municipal credit markets can be considered: the bank model popular in Western Europe and the bond model widely used in North America. The bond model has theoretically more advantages than the other. However, Asian local governments may start with either model considering the countries' social-cultural-political milieu and keep a proper combination of both models serving different segments of local credit markets.

Contents 

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • State of Local Government Finance in Asia and Major Issues
  • Fiscal Reforms to Improve Local Government Finance
  • External Borrowing and Privatization Efforts by Local Governments
  • Developing Local and Municipal Credit Market
  • Conclusions
  • References