The Effects Of Accountability And Transparency In Financial Management Of Nigerian Local Government
There has been a persisting challenges of accountability and transparency in local government councils in Nigeria. The objective of this study has been to ascertain whether accountability and transparency has put to check the circumvention of due process in financial and non-financial activities of the Local government council in Nigeria. A survey research design was adopted for the study, 55 Administrative management and 30 internal auditing totaling 85 was randomly sampled and stratified among members of staffs in local government out of 108 population sample. Three research questions and hypothesis tested at 0.05 percent level of significance guided to study. Frequencies, percentages, Means and standard derivation were employed to answer the research question while Z-test statistics were used to test the hypotheses. It was discovered that the process of accountability and transparency has affected the official and non-official financial behavioural attitudes of council staffs in Nigeria. It was recommended that there should be adequate sensitization through, workshops seminars and lectures on the need for accountability and transparency in the government System.
The Background of Study
Accountability and transparency has been critical issue in financial management of local government. It has been hampering the performances of the council and has been and is still a yet problem to be solved. It could be traced to have started during the early era of management, when people are in co-operative efforts to achieve aims which they could not achieve individually.
What is today known as local government in Nigeria has been metamorphosed from the pre-colonial transitional system of government which was highly localized according to the peculiarities of the areas. The local council or native authority presents the basic unit through which any nation administers her people of the grass-roots level.
The theory of local government therefore, is that there must be an administrative agency through which the central government governs the people in their respective homes.
All over the world, the structure; the form and the functions of the local government are determined by the political beliefs of the people who control the central government. The local unit usually operated under a council which may consist of persons elected through democratic process by the local inhabitants or through persons appointed by the government to run the affairs of the local inhabitants.
Starting from the early 1950s, there have been lots of re-examination of the institution of local government in Nigeria. There have been a large amount of military decrees, legislature and judicial activities and finally, reforms from committee‟s recommendations. Meanwhile, the most remarkable of all these in the 1979 local government reforms made the Nigerian local government states. Local government is the government at the grassroots that is nearest to the local populace. The implication of its constitutionally guaranteed governance structure and its closeness to the people necessitate the need for accountability and transparency in financial management, and their norms in governance, more evident at this level.
But contrarily, local governments in Nigeria are often seen as nurturing grounds for barefaced corruption and near absence of accountability and transparency in conduct of public service. Local government council however, instead of discharging their functions as development centers to the people at the grass root, acquired notoriety for corruption, fiscal indiscipline and overall irresponsibility. The lack of integrity, accountability and transparency at the level of governance definitely constitutes a heavy toll on the well-being of the people of local government (Agbo 2012:20).stealing, embezzlement and misappropriation of fund has become a major hobby in Nigerian local government.
Circumvention of financial and non financial issue in the Nigerian local government has been on the increase, geometrically. this issue and many others brought the need of this research to identify the responsiveness of local government administration to accountability and transparency in their activities and the changes if any accountability and transparency in responsibility has brought to the local government administration since its invention as a mode of operation in Nigerian government.
Statement of the Problem
The research work is to evaluate and investigate the problems associated with lack of accountability and transparency in financial management of local government council. Local government councils has been faced with the problem of employments racketing, corruption in procurement, internal revenue collection, award of contracts to the wrong contractors, etc.
Salaries and allowances are paid to non-existing worker as if they are duly recruited staff of local government. Government goes on to pay this money without a due process to ascertain this transparent nature of transaction.
The accounting officers in this process go on in this act without adequate accountability of its responsibility.
Overhead expenditures in the council are incurred without documentation; documents that are not favorable to the council chairman or officer-in-charge are destroyed to avoid persecution after services. Tender are not observed as a process of procurement but insistently friends and family members are not given the mandate to supply goods and provide services to the council without tenders.
Contract award has been on man know man, which could either be political allies or financers. These contractors as a return to investment of financial support to the council chairman either abandon or execute the contract to the extent to which they wish, in other to recoup their money invested in election of the council chairman knowing fully well that the council chairman will not query him.
In this acts, council inhabitants suffer. The federal government of Nigeria presumes that introduction of accountability and transparency (the progress) in government activity down to local government could put a check to these illicit activities in financial transactions of government down to council activities.
This research tends to access the efficacy of accountability and transparency inventions in the local government financial and non-financial of government down to council activities as enshrine by due process office.
The following research questions as designed to attend the objective of this work;
- To what extent does accountability and transparency put check to the circumvention of due process in the financial and non-financial activities of the local government council in Nigeria?
- To what extent has the inhabitants of local government council benefited from the proceed of accountability and transparency in improvement of social amenities?
- To what has the process of accountability and transparency affect the official and non-official financial behavioral attitudes of council staff in Nigeria?
Objective of the Study
The following objectives to this research work stand to be achieved;
- To ascertain whether accountability and transparency has put to check the circumvention of due process in financial and non-financial activities of the local government council in Nigeria.
- To ascertain whether the inhabitants of local government council have benefited from the proceed of accountability and transparency through the improvement of social amenities.
- To ascertain whether the accountability and transparency have affected the official and non-official financial behavioral attitudes of council staff in Nigeria.
The research work is based on the following hypotheses which are formulated in tackling the problems in the subject.
- HO: Accountability and Transparency has not put to check the circumvention of due process in financial and non-financial activities of the local government council in Nigeria.
H1: Accountability and Transparency has put to check the circumvention of due process in financial and non financial activities of local government councils in Nigeria.
- HO: The inhabitants of local government council has not benefited from the proceed of accountability and transparency in improvement of social amenities.
H2: The inhabitants of local government council has benefited from the proceed of accountability and transparency in improvement of social amenities.
- H0: The process of accountability and transparency has not affected the official and non-official financial behavioral attitudes of council attitudes of staff in Nigeria
H3: The process of accountability and transparency has affected the official and non-official financial behavioral attitudes of council staff in Nigeria.
Significance of the Study
This research work will enable the researcher to establish the possible factors causing improper accountability and transparency in financial management in the conduct of public sector in Nigeria.
It is equally expected that, the research work will help to provide solution which will be applied in improving the stability in the public sector. This study therefore, will expose the weakness of the local government council system.
Finally, the study will generally be of immense importance to the readers on various agencies establishing by federal government in fighting corruption in Nigeria.
Scope of the Study
This study as the case may be covers the nature of accountability and transparency in financial management in the local governments with particular reference to Bende local government area of Abia state. The study takes a holistic approach in its research to unveil the challenges and problems hindering the proper accountability and transparency in financial management in local government and better ways of curbing them.
The study also looked at the basic ways of fund and revenue sources in the local government and its disbursement.
Limitations of the Study
In this research work, there are many constraints that affect the output of this work. One of the limitations is time frame given to this work by the school for the writing and submission of this project work as well as academic and personal pressure was faced.
Also, it was not easy collecting information from the council area. Officers I met did allow me access to some of their documents for security purpose.
Furthermore, most of the personnel in Bende council area are not qualified accountant and this imposed some problems in data collection. Exact is one of major problem in school, getting it from the management or people in authority is not easy financial limitations is another, imposing a big constraint in conducting the research work effectively; particularly in administrating of the question naira and lack of adequate material for the study.
Definition of Terms
Is the third tier of government in Nigeria. It is the government at the lower level that has power of control our local affairs as well as the staff by carrying out its functions.
Is fund raised by the government for public purposes and constituting of taxes, licenses, fines, special assessment.
Is specified amount given or allocated to various local government in the country by the federal and state government to carry out their day to day.
The achievement of organization and goals through an effective and efficient utilization of human and material resources.
This means an area defined to carryout government functions.
Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendations
Summary of Findings
The following findings were made from the hypotheses tested.
Local government council has adopted accountability and transparency as a good check with the helpnof due process in financial and non-financial activities which is capable of producing desired result
The inhabitants within the local government council have benefited from the proceed of accountability and transparency in improvement of social amenities.
The process of accountability and transparency has affected the official and non official financial behavourial attitudes of council staff in Nigeria.
Despite the likelihood that the introduction of EFCC, ICPC and due process in the system of government for proper accountability and transparency in financial management of Nigerian local government council. The management of the local council needs to meet up with a lot of measures in place for proper accountability and transparency.
These include the following:
- The officials of the local government council should Endeavour to adhere properly to the procedure established by them for such control of council fund.
- The staff of the council should be adequately motivated to detach their mind from any corrupt practices.
- The council officials (especially the chairman) should be audited by the external auditor yearly before they vacate from their office for proper accountability and transparency.
- The council should make sure that the revenue collection of it should be contracted out; proper returns should be made by the agent.
- Training and re-training programmes and seminars should be organized periodically for the members and staff of the council to increase their moral and ensure efficiency and effectiveness in doing their work.
The research work was painstakingly conducted to educate people in the importance of proper accountability and transparency is all about. There is need for proper supervision of the council staff and officials to ensure that, they are efficiently and effectively monitored and managed in line with the constitution adopted for the local government council in the country.
This research has gone further to discourage any council that have a weak internal control system rather the councils should employ more dedicated and capable hands to argument the existing ones.
After more careful evaluation of transparency in financial management and accountability in Nigerian local government council and having seen the adverse effect of improper accountability in the government system, to remain silent over these will endanger the rapid development of property in the local government council in the country.
In the light of this, the following recommendations were made based on my finding during this research work.
- First and foremost, the recommendation is to advice readers to conduct further research on this topic because the findings so far are based on the data collected and analyzed. Therefore, this research should not be regarded as sacred.
- The accounting working system of the council should be computerized, since most of the systems are done manually.
- There should be adequate sensitization through workshops, seminars and lectures on the need for transparency and accountability in the government system.
- The researcher equally recommends that the staff employed to man sensitive position like the cashier, accountant, secretary to mention but a few, should be qualified with no qualification less than B.SC or HND in the relevant professions.
- The government should build an in-house ICPC, EFCC and due process office in all the local government councils. This will go a long way to deter any fraudulent practices which can lead to improper accountability and transparency in the system.
- The state government in conjunction with the federal government should make sure that the accounts of the local government are audited periodically and monitored by them. This will go a long way in reducing corruption in the society. Finally, the salaries and other fringe benefits of the staff of the council should be paid as and when due in order to reduce any fraudulent act practices and bridge the gap for an effective and efficiency transparency and accountability in the government system.
- The conclusion drawn from this study should not be considered to be final. There is need for further research, other local government council; Nigeria in this field investigates more on proper accountability and transparency in the government system.
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