Accountability In Public Sector, A Pre-Condition For Economic Growth And Development In Nigeria (A Case Study Of Newy-Norty Local Government Of Anambra State)
The object of this study is to find out how relevant accountability is to our nation Nigeria. Accountability in public administration refers to produce in financial and material management of scare resources for the general welfare of the citizens. However; lack of accountability and improper accounting by our public officers has presented a big blow to the economy.
In this work, much emphasis will be laid on the need for accountability in public sector, the evolution of unmilitary on accountability, the various factors that militate against accountability and the various methods of enforcing accountability in our nation in order to bring economize growth and development will be exhaustively discussed among others.
Thus, the government will have to device ways and means of making public officers accountable number of public financial ethers will be laid out to support the need for adequate accountability in the management of public finds and resources. There information will be gotten from the use of analysis of data through questionnaire and interviews. In conclusion, several recommendations for appropriate accountability among public officers will be made by this study.
Table of Content
- Title Page
- Approval Page
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Study
- 1.3 Objective of the Study
- 1.4 Significance of the Study
- 1.5 Scope of the Study
- 1.6 Limitation of the Study
- 1.7 Brief History of Nnewi North Local Government
- 1.8 Definition of Terms
- 1.9 References
2.0 Reivew of Related Literature
- 2.1 Accountability and the Nigerian Societal Ethics and Values
- 2.2 Evaluation of Military on Accountability
- 2.3 Methods of Enforcing Accountability
- 2.4 the Role of Accountability in Nnewi North Local Government of Anambara State
- 2.5 Factors That Militate Against Accountability in the Public Sector.
- 2.6 the Professional Ethics of Public Financial Management.
- 2.7 Accounting Documents and Recording Transactions
- 2.8 References.
3.0 Research Methodology
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Data Collection Method
- 3.3 Data Presentation and Analysis
- 3.4 Statement of Null and Alternative Hypothesis.
4.0 Report and Data Analysis
- 4.1 Analysis Based on Objectives
- 4.2 Hypothesis Testing
- 4.3 Discussion
- 4.4 Data Analysis of the Local Government
- 4.5 Organization of the Accounts/ Finance Department
- 4.6 the Nnewi-north Local Government’s Accounting System.
- 4.7 General Financial Arrangement
- 4.8 Control and Reporting
- 4.9 Planning and Performance Evaluation
5.0 Findings, Recommendations and Conclusions
- 5.1 Summary of Findings
- 5.2 Conclusion
- 5.3 Recommendations
Introduction Background of the Study
1.1 The Need for Accountability in Public Sector
At, the onset of the oil boom in the 1970’s, many were convinced that the era of scarcity has given way to abundant resources. A major problem was how to plan for the societies to be confronted with the vast increases in material wealth and leisure. The national priorities shifted rapidly as Nigerians embrace the increased material wealth with poor planning and abundant waste. The cost of running the government enlarged bureaucracy and social programme increased tremendously as money realized from the oil boom was squandered with impurity. Inflation, affluence and ostentation life- style became the habits of Nigerians. A decade later, in the 1980’s the fail i8n oil prices presented a big blow on the Nigerian Economy. The financial plight of the nations’ book on crises, inflation, lack of liquidity and unfavorable balance of payment forced the government to introduced several economic survival package such as: the economic stabilization and reconstruction of policy, by the shagari administration and numerous reforms and commissions set up to bring spending sanity on the populace to a lower level for improvement of the situation in the near future. For these reasons accountability or the demand for public offices to give account of public resources, be it funds, properties, public statement, personal behaviors, actions, performance will continue to be of great concern to government policy makers. As the public continues to feel an increasing painful economic pinch, the management practices of public officers will be under great scruting. If government and public officers cannot account for the way they use resources, then there will be a complete loss of confidence and trust on programme, necessary resulting to general apathy and discontent among the populace and even a breakdown of law and order. Thus, the inherent problem, facing the government is to device ways and means of making public officers accountable to the taxpayers for the scarce resources under their care and for their actions while discharging their duties. In essence, accountability in public administration refers to efficient management of resources for the general welfare of the citizens. This idea will be fully developed in the proceeding discussions.
However, the modest intention of this paper is to examine several government policies aimed at inhibility accountability among public officers, determine environmental factors that militate against accountability, and postulate strategies for prudent financial management and propriety among officers. Pursuit of these objectives wills necessitates relevant discussions of accountability corruption, as a mechanism for controlling waste, property values and efficiency in the management of public of fund. In Nigeria today, accountability has become of great concern to both the government and the taxpayers. Accountability to public administrators refers to prudent in financial or materials management of scare resources. It connotes the idea of doing more with little and being able to account for every aspect of the resources involved in the process. To max Weber, accountability entails “mental revolution” of the workers so as to embrace every fact of the efficiency theory. Thus, accountability involves a process by which a public officer can be able to give account of his performance through a process model of input-process-output. Accountability refers to a situation where; “a public officer takes charge of the property belonging to the public. This implies that there is a contractual agreement either by verbal or written or simply understood that a public officer must give an account of his actions in regard to the property to the owner (the public, government or his representatives). If anything has bothered careful observers in recent times, it is the manner in which public finances and properties are wasted with impunity either by embezzlement, arson, accidents, mismanagement or inefficient application one can stop for a moment to wonder whether the abandoned machineries, equipment cars found littered all around our government house and the government ministries belonged to one person, wouldn’t the person immediately repair them and put them back into use? The view expressed by Ejimofor in his writing is similar to the above he stated thus, “that smart massagers, clerks, administrators, executives, ministers, commissioners, military, governors and even head of state were found guilty over alleged criminal, and, man over of public fund, material and resources’. Likewise Ugwu in his own contribution said “that civil service is notable for waste and inefficiency which can be attributing to bureaucratic straight adherence to routines and procedures.” In the past, cases of embezzlement involving millions of naira have been uncovered in various ministers in the local government, state which the attitude of public officers and government towards the offence has been luke-warm. This in effect encourages more embezzlement, as punishments methods on offending public officers are lesser than the offence committed. Most Nigerian have grown to accept and conceive public offices as a “money making machine.” There is nothing new in public officers making one millions of naira after one year of office whereas his salary is not to two hundred thousand naira annually. The extent to which corruption has infested and infact polluted our public institution is far unimaginable. A panel constituted by the government was saying “there were 10 to 70 outstanding audit quarries inn connection with expenditure vouchers for federal non-accounting minrtines and local government covering the eight year period 1965 to 1972.” Ejiofor summarized the issue on accountability in his theory as follows:
- The average Nigerian is corrupt, dishonest, nepotic, tribalistic and lazy and is all the time seeking for the opportunity to defraud and cheal his employer.
- The Nigerian society does not reward hard work, diligence, objectivity, selflessness, patience and inventiveness; the emphasis is on shortcuts, self-satisfactory, now-now and quick quick.
- The environment in Nigeria is not conducive for effective and efficient running of organization(s), a pre-condition for Notional development
In this study, which is meant to show that no meaningful growth and development can take place in any Nnewi North local government of Anambra state, Nigeria? Without disciplined public officers. Who can be accountable for their actions and behaviors and also for the resources under their care? A nations development and growth potentials are measured by the ability of its’ public officers level of accountability both while in the office and long after when they have left office. Hence, accountability should be critically examined to provide some guide towards the transformation of the economics growth and development in our country, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem.
Accountability has a very large effect on the Nigeria economic growth and development. In Nigeria today, accountability has become of great concern to both the government and the taxpayers. Accountability in public administration refers to prudence in financial and, material management of scare resources for the general welfare of the citizen. It is concerned with the idea of doing more with little and being able to account for every aspect of the resources involved in the process. Many factors militate against accountability in our nation. These factors are instruments of mismanagement of public funds instability of tenure officers, hereditary influences, administrative loyalty and eye –service syndrome and institution inefficiency. The contains poor accounting conduct in our public sector is contributory to the under development of both local and the nation as a whole.
The contions poor accounting conduct in our public sector is contributory to the underdevelopment of both local and the nation as a whole. The extravagant attitude exhibited by public officers who have amassed public finds and the socio economics effects of their acts have been a subject of national concern in recent time. Thus the inherent problem facing the government is to device ways and means of making public officers accountable. A number of public financial ethics have evolved to support the need for adequate account ability in the management of public finals; these affirmative ethical principles include in department integrity and objectively include all proper transaction from the view point of generally accepted accounting principles and possession of competence and technical standards. From the above, one can deduce that commutable is a precondition for economic growth and development. The statement of research problems becomes:
- What are the reasons for efficient accountability and the cause of inefficient accountability
- Whose responsibility is it to ensure that effective and efficient accounting system operates or exists?
- What are the prospects of accountability in public sector in order to circumvent the inherent causes of inefficient accounting system
1.3 The Objectives of Study
The aim and objectives of this study include;
- To identify the various factors that militate against accountability in Nnewi North local government of Anambra state of Nigeria
- To determine the implication of accountability, its effects on economic growth and development Nnewi North Nigeria.
- To determine the attitude of Nigerians towards accountability
Finally, to suggest based on my findings some remedies for appropriate accountability among public officers
1.4 The Significance of the Study
Research data from this study with added more facts to the existing body of knowledge. It will show the causes of poor accountability attitude and lack of proper adequate accounting system of our public officers in the Nigeria. This study will also provide a way of tackling such problem. It should be noted that accountability applied both to the obligation to perform work and to exercise authority. This means that accountability is always an upward activity this study should be of immense importance to all the financial studies students. The accounting students need this study should be of immense importance to the entire financial studies student. The accounting student needs this study for their continuous learning while other departments need it for the understanding of monetary policy. It can also of valuable use to the following: –
- To the student, it will provide a compliment to the few exiting text on monetary and material resource accountability
- To researches, it will serves as a valuable source of data
- To the policy makers, it highlight the mechanism or methods of enforcing account ability in public administration, against achieving set of goals and objective, it also analyses and suggest solution to the problems facing accountability in public sector.
- To the investors, it serves as a guideline on the effect of accountability on public sector of the economy in which their funds can be invested and finally.
- The study of accountability helps the bankers in analyzing the effect of government activities on the overall economy and how it will improve the rate of economy growth and development in Nigeria.
1.5 Scope of the Study
However, this research is vividly restricted to Nnewi – North Local Government area of Anambra State of Nigeria. The research topic is broad, theoretical and analytical in nature and can be undertaken with respect to any part of the local government for example, cash management, internal control performance and efficiency. This, the reason for the limitation of the study in the below aspects.
1.6 Limitation of the Study
The limitation of this study can be emphasized by the following:
- General Financial arrangement
- The restriction of data pertaining to public sectors of the economy. It therefore becomes difficult to assess the impact of accountability on public administration.
- The erratic nature of government, in Nigeria, there is a great deal of instability in government, therefore economic financial development policy are never stable. It makes accountability in public sector very difficult and impossible of achieving any economic growth and development since it keeps changing with the advent of each new government.
- The inability of the financial authority and administration to provide adequate statistics on the performance of accountability measures adopted by them.
This is largely, due to the problems of illegal actions of the officers / citizens who attempt to thwart the effect of the government in public sector.
1.7 Brief History of the Nnewi-North Local Government of Anambra State
The Nnewi-north Local Government of Anambra State, as one of the pioneer leading local government in Anambra state has been in operation in Nigeria over fifteen years. The local Government came into existence in 1991, during the creation of new local government is situated along oba oraifite and okigwe express road . The local government was formerly known as Nnewi local government with a division of two equal parts-one is Nnewi –North and Nnewi-sorth Local government Latter. However, Nnewi-north local government is made up of five parts (villages) with one central igwe for both the north and south. The villages on their own here the obi’s as their co-ordinators. The villages in Nnewichie-north includes: Otolo, umagu, umudim, Nnewichie and ichie . The people of Nnewi-north local government are known to be traders: They trade mainly on motorcycle and motor parts. Hence the “Nkwo market” Nnewi-north is known for business in their geographical area, this attracted people from other areas to come and trade with them, which in turn leads to the development of the local government.
The recent government under the chairmanship of Mr. Francis okeke had accomplished comes many investment and development for the masses. This was possible because of the share of the national cake gotten from Federal through the State government of Anambra. Though, this would not have been enough had they not put in their efforts into production of goods and services like the production of food items and fertilizer. Also they embark on investing in profitability ventures. The accomplishment includes building of roads, which is one of the important things, which they are in desperate need of. However, this seems to have its origin from the regime of Mr. Anthony Enuma. The development and retructing of the new big market is not to be left out. The market “Nkwo market” is the major sources of revenue for the local government now. The employment opportunity for the local government indigenes and non-indigenes is not to be left out. Currently, they have about 1500 staff strength condusively, since its existence, it has been contributing in normal measures towards social and economic advancement of Anambra State and Nigeria at large. Added to that, the Nnem – local government has been maintaining and improving the living standard of the staff to a sustainable level.
1.8 Definition of Terms
There are terms, which were frequently used in implementation, operation and execution of an efficient accountability in public sector and are defined and explained as follows:
By 1966, the American Accounting Association interpreted accounting as: the process of identifying, measuring and communicating economic information to permit informed judgments and decisions by the users of the information. Accounting is also concerned with quantification of economic events in money terms in order to collect record, evaluate and communicate the results of past events and to aid in decision – making. This definition embraces the local government accounting. I’m pendley (1993) defined Accounting as a discipline for providing information and evaluation of such information. For the purpose of this research, the objectives of accounting are as follows:
Making decisions concerning the use of limited resources, including the identification of crucial decision areas and determination of objectives and goals. Effectively directing the controlling of an organizations human and material resource. Maintaining and reporting on the custodianship of resources and facilitating social functions and controls.
According to Jawhar (1985) the accounting system includes the various techniques and procedures used by the accountant (prepare) in measuring, describing and communicating financial data to users.
According to statements of Accounting standards (SASI). These are those bases, rules, preparing and presenting financial statements judgment is required in the choice of the accounting policies which are appropriate to the circumstance of an enterprise and are best suited to present the true and fair view of its’ results and financial position
According to R.N. Goyal and C.B. Gaur (1982), internal control, is a wider term. Internal control which also includes internal check is the whole process or system of controls, financial, management and otherwise established by management to enable business to function in an orderly manner, ensure the security of its’ cash and property as well as the keeping of accurate and realize records. The purpose of internal control is to present errors and fraud or discover them in time if they occur.
According to Augustine E. Ejili (1996) Economic development is a process whereby the real per capital income of a given economy increases over a period of time. Economic development entails economic growth accompanied with solid institutional, political and other appreciable changes in the economy.
According to marshal Dirneck, public administration is a process concerned with what and how of government. The coordination of all organized activities having as it’s purpose the implementation of public policy.
According to Augustine E. Ejili (1996) Economic growth is quantitative increase in the output of commodities per head.
5.0 Summary of Findings, Recommendations and Conclusions
5.1 Summary of Findings
Based on the date and report collected in this research the following were established.
Firstly, the researcher did observe that according records are kept which serves as a good source of information to the management and other users of the records. It was practically established that management accounting information system acts as pointers to the direction of the local Government which assist heads of departments and the chairman of the local government in reviewing their monthly, quarterly and annual performance and giving proper accountability.
It was observed that centralized accounting system was adopted while the entire working of the local government is decentralized thereby accelerating the pace of information dissipation.
The researcher observed that accrual accounting system and responsibility accounting are in practice. The aim of the accrual accounting system is to ensure that the accruals receive attention and to ensure that nothing is overstated or understated at the year. Moreover, for effective control and accurate resorting of it’s finances, invoice are batches and dispatched to controller who in turn will send it for computerization. In the priers of doing this, it was observed that the invoice processing system is cumbersome and time construing.
This was as a result of the excessive paper flow that is generated for treating transactions.
Furthermore, to facilitate the accounting system there was an overall accounting code structure for the local government which are subjected to periodic reviews and updating. It was also observed that the ensure that accounting system that are operational in the local government at any given point in time. However, it was observed that there is sound internal control system. In doing this, the local government maintains for their operation. There is always authority to other and purchase the materials.
The general ledger system is a computerized one, containing thousands of accounts showing the local government’s transactions which includes invoices processing, materials acquisition, etc which are direct to reflect the actual budget. It was observed that the process of handling invoke and current account charges are supported by the Receipts and disbursements and the current account systems respectively. It was also observed that receipts and disbursement are documented and payments goes to the bank and accounts are reconciled on monthly basis.
The Annual assets vindication Exorcise. This is always carried at every September. This is to have accurate value of the local government is assets for purposes of annual financial accounts as well as fiscal reports. This exercise has its’ short comings which shall be highlighted later on more over, for the purpose of ensuring an efficient accounting monthly performance review is incorporated into the local government’s accounting system. Added to monthly performance review, to check the internal reporting system of the local government management adopted a lot of reporting system. The researcher did observed that the account system, which is a highly computerized one, influences the success of management and chairman in evaluating departments’ level of performance and reaching decisions. Though there are shortcomings, such as lack of computer programmers and trained personals.
Based on the information gathered the guilty of local banking services places constraints on the timeliness of settlement, particularly the delay from Nnewi-North local government payment instruction to receipt of funds by the supplier. In terms of payment, the researcher did observer that before any payment is effected or made, there must be payment advice from the treasury section of the financial department who produces management report on periodic basis.
Though accounting procedure and system exists. The perinea problem is that some of the staff do not know the accounting procedure and system that exist in the local government. This may be as a result of either numerous procedures or system adopted or staff not properly trained on the accounting procedures and system and also on the concept, principles and practice involved in the discharge of their duties, for them to appreciate their duties and responsibilities assigned to them. Hence, they will not responsibility place a proper report of their actions white in the office.
In this research, an endeavor has been made to in discussion of accountability issue as a pre- condition or determinant factor, in the National growth and development.
White pertinent factors militating against accountability were discussed, this study posit that no meaningful place in any nation without disciplined public officers who can be accountable for their actions and behaviors and also for the resources under their care. A nations development and growth potentials are measured by the ability of its’ public officers level of accountability both while in the office and long offer they have left the office.
It has been shown that accountability in public sector is a pre condition for economic growth and development in Nnewi- North local government. It has been shown that efficient accounting system in the overall management is enhancing the efficient and effective use of the available scale resources and drastically reducing frequent reported cases of large-scale improprieties, malpractice’s and frauds in the local government.
More importantly, the researcher also observed that accounting and management system aid organizations coordination and control of human material reroutes towards the achievement of a predetermined objective.
Contractors, staff and management must involve themselves in ensuring efficient accountability system. There cannot be effective management design to establish a healthy relationship with the staff and to management. There should be highly degree of cooperation in management of duties. Therefore, to ensure efficient accountability, management needs accounting information’s in performance of their duties.
However based on the researcher reports and findings, he now recommends the following alternatives line of actions which he believe will be appropriate for accountability among public officers. They are as listed below:
The government should be more serious about accountability by coming-out adequate means of punishing corrupt public officers while adequate rewards and incentives be created for selfless dedication and disciplined public officers of highly integrity.
There should be a reorientation of public officers on the issue of accountability and the potential benefits accrued, if public officers are accountable and the accountable to the actions and resources entrusted to them. The reorientation can be carried out through public Lecture seminar’s and workshops lecture talk in government officers.
Highly placed public officers should govern by setting examples, so that these people under them can emulate.
We cannot talk of accountability while the highly placed public officers exhibits ‘grap .grap’ syndrorne and squander the public funds like tax payers funds .Accountability can be possible if both the leader and those that they are leading (the governed ) collahorately see is as a precondition for economic growth and development only there and then could the doctrine of Accountability would be able to hold in every facet of our public sector.
The government should re-examine the procures of distribution of nations wealth. This should be put into consideration in the sense that because of the wide gap created by the rich poor distorting , the public financial officer sees his position as appropriate to make-up the deficiencies especially when he sees his counter part doing things he cannot do.
Accountability should be seen as a societal problem which is in correlation with our value system, therefore the government should create awareness through the media of the seriousness of the problem to the national growth and development and through the electronic media angles inform the public of the need for accountability in the public sector.
Accountability can also be attained by the introduction of management by techniques (MBO) in the public sector such techniques can assist in setting standards by which performance can be evaluated. The lack in the public sector gives the public officers coopholds for indiscisplinarry behaviors.
There is the need for management to look into an extensive generation of devilments to avoid bureaucratic way of invoice handling. There should prerequisite for devolution of invoice handling too functional line units which is an sound organization under pinned by internal controls which support effective processing of invoices.
The attitude of the verifiers during assets verification should be charged. The verifiers do not take the pains to actually verify the physical existence of their assets.
There should be effective monitoring of staff in carrying out this exercise and adequate penalties should be applied to staff who indulged in wrong verification exercise.
Accountability will improve if those in positions will stop being partial during employment process some of the public financial officers are not qualified for the post but because they have gods father in that field, they are given the job, thus they are not accountable to the funds and other resources entrusted to them. So if this attitude of top officers in the public sector is examined well by their superiors, accountability in the public sector will improve.
The study showed that major board appointees lack the required time frame to enable them translate the strategic goals of organizations into reality. If the attitude of changing officers in an office regularly should be minimized, so as to enable the officer do his work efficiently and effectively.
Though the local Government keeps accounting records, but some of her accounting records are in computer from which to some extent does not enhance efficient and effective accounting record keeping. In most cases, this system is not reliable computer breakdown may lead to loss of information stores; if not stored in disc.
Accounting procedure and system exists. The problem is that some of the staff do not know their accounting procedure and system that are in operation in the Local Government. The staff should be educated on the accounting procedure, system, and also on the concepts, principles and practice involved in the discharge of their duties, for them. The finance or accounting department should be run by professional of high management and accounting skill. His ability to organize business transactions accurately and produce the necessary result is very retained to suit the various industrial programme in various departments. Accounting/finance department should have adequate facilities for effective operation. Good quality personnel should be attracted into this department to ensure that accountability is maintained. Enough motivation should also be given for efficiency.
Finally, for the aforementioned alternative lies of action to be successful it is necessary for management who are in charge of corporate planning to embark upon policies to educate the staff, contractors and other that directly or indirectly work in the local government on the necessity for them to adhere to all principles, procedures and systems, knowing that it is only through same that efficiency can be enhanced or improved and at the same time drastically reduce frequent reported cases of large scale malpractice and frauds in the local government’s loss margin leading to a colossal profit.
All there will no doubt enhance accountability in public sector and in turn improve the economic and department in Nigeria.
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