Successes And Failures Of Public Sector Accountability In Nigeria
This course of study is centered on the appraisal of the success and failure of public sector accountability. This is to say that, the essences of public funds are the provision of social benefits to the people who contributed to it. It is therefore, important that the public administrator should be given a clear account of what they did with public funds, if the aim of such an administrator is to complete its tenure in the office this is because people can resist tax payment, if they are not properly informed of what was done with their funds. This study exposes t he individual on his or her right to demand for an account from their trustee as their representatives.
The researcher made out thirty-five questionnaires which, were presently to respondents and which were gathered back after their opinions were given, regarding the basic issues being addressed out of the thirty-five questionnaires distributed, thirty were accepted for analysis.
To finalize the research work, I am saying that there is a very poor attitude towards public sector accounting in Nigeria. It was unfortunate that we could not establish or indicate out major problems. People still wallow object poverty because of corrupt government that placed no value to the individual’s welfare.
Finally, I recommended that, the government must ensure that all politicians declare their assets before assuming office. Their assets are again assessed on the completion of offices by the politicians. All banks that kept ill gotten wealth should be blacklisted and their operating license withdrawn. External auditors should be appointed to audit and publish all government account. Internal auditors should be made to report directly to the government.
The study is centered on the appraisal of the success and failure of public sector accountability in Nigeria. It will show or give the extent; the public funds have being prudently utilized to maximize his welfare in Nigeria for the period of 1991-2002, and the provision of social benefit it has contributed to the people. We will know how important it is for the public administrator to give clear account on how they are spending the public funds.
Help to ascertain the taxpayer’s attitude towards tax payment. This study will help to expose the individual on his or her right to demand for an account from their trustee as their representative.
The meaning of public sector, the success, failures and also the problems will be treated and more especially how public sector came into existence in Nigeria.
1.1 Background of the Study
Every society is made up of individuals, who agree to come under one unit and to be governed as an entity for the society to function effectively, some individual must manage its affairs as it affects the society over all good, be it financial goal, social goal or political goal. Against this background of managing the affairs of the society funds must be raised and used to achieve some of the goal of the society. The funds must rest in the hands of the people’s representatives, to be administered in such a way that maximum social benefit to be achieved.
To the extent of the funds contributed by the individuals and entrusted in the hands of representatives, services will be provides by the use of funds. Eventually then, these representatives will not only keep custody of the funds, they will account to the people who contributed to the funds. This is based however, on the existing of full democratic system of government.
Back here in Nigeria when the public sector accounting did not develop to any meaningful extent, until the coming of the British accounting for the public funds has been posing a lot of problem since the past 1991-2002 era. It is unfortunate that all efforts by the government to encourage public sector accounting did not achieve the desired outcome of providing adequate information regarding the use of the public funds. Proper accountability should demand that, the extent of financial performance of any government for the period ruled by the government.
1.2 Statement of Problems
The bone of the problem of the Nigerian public sector has been the improper accountability and management of the taxpayer’s money entrusted in the hands of their representatives. These representatives have rather to wealth amassment at the expenses of the taxpayers, when it was clear that little or no punishment was meted on them. They would rather be given titles as an encouragement for their fraudulent practices.
Consequently, there is poor rate of development and very poor standard of living of the average taxpayer. The researcher is therefore interested in increasing the awareness of the need for their trustees as their representative to properly account for the taxpayers fund.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The cardinal objectives of the research work are: –
- To find out to what extent, the public funds have been prudently utilized to maximize his welfare in Nigeria for the period of 1991-2002.
- To ascertain the taxpayers attitude towards tax payment.
- To create a general awareness on the part of the public funds to demand for an account from their representatives.
1.4 Research Question
- To what extent is accountability institution working in the Nigerian public sector?
- Does professional base of Accountants exist in terms of number and quality that support public expenditure management in Nigeria?
- To what extent has Nigeria government lost money due to lack of accountability?
- Does public resources managers in Nigeria rendered a timely, adequate and reliable stewardships accounting?
- Are the electorate satisfied with the state of public infrastructure and services compared with the amount of resources so far invested in the country?
- How effective and efficient is the audit process providing potential for establishing accountability and detection of corruption?
- Do competent oversight bodies exist and functioning effectively in the public sector?
- Does the accountability arrangement contribute to the availability of information about former and current administrative actions for the administrative body involved and a wider range of administrative bodies?
1.5 Significance of the Study
This study through its findings will help to identify the possible factors attributable to improper accountability in financial management in the Nigerian public sector. It is equally expected that the study will provide relevant suggestions that will improve the stability, effectiveness, efficiency and service delivery of public sector in Nigeria.
The study will be of substantial benefits to accounting practitioners as it will help them improve on their routine work and as regard the effective management of the finances of their respective parastatals. Financial analysts will find this work invaluable as it serves as a basis for advising their clients on investment decisions.
Furthermore, this research work will propel the management of local government councils, state and federal ministries, agencies and departments to formulate policies that will enhance the process of accountability, transparency and probity in their operations. It will also assist various agencies established by the government in fighting corruption within their parastatals. Students will equally find this study as a guide in their future research undertakings on the subject matter.
1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study
This study examines the fiscal accountability dilemma in Nigeria public sector: a warning model for economic retrogression in Nigeria by prioritizing on selected government parastatals. It will cover the Ministry of Finance, Presidency, Ministry of Works, and National Assembly.
The limitations encountered in the study are time constraint, cost constraint and unwillingness of respondents to provide the necessary data.
The time allotted to carry out this study is relatively short considering other academic engagements of the researcher. Due to paucity of funds, the study’s coverage was limited to only Ministry of Finance, Presidency, Ministry of Works, and National Assembly. Furthermore, the respondents, who are account officers in the selected offices were somehow unwilling to participate in the survey exercise. Nevertheless, a robust and fact-finding research is carried out.
Summary of Finding, Conclusions and Recommendation
5.1 Summary of Findings
- The study revealed that there is weak accountability in the Nigerian public sector.
- It was also found that inadequate record keeping leads to lack of accountability in the public sector due to out of date financial regulatory framework (Finance Control and Management). Act of 1958; Audit Ordinance of 1956)
- The professional base of Accountants in terms of number and quality to support management of public expenditure in Nigeria is weak
- Lack of accountability in the public sector is due to ineffectiveness of oversight bodies in Nigeria.
- The study shows that external auditing is very vital in ensuring effective accountability in theNigerian public sector.
- There is high level of corruption, clientelism, and capture in the system because of lack accountability in the public system
- The Nigeria Economy is underdeveloped given the level resources and potentials due to financial Indiscipline and wastages in the system resulting from lack of accountability in Nigeria public sector.
The basic fundamental way for economic development is financial discipline and elimination of wastages of national resources in the public sector which is the direct function of accountability. It is rather unfortunate that the level of accountability experienced in the country is unacceptable due to weak accounting infrastructure, ineffective oversight bodies and the cogs in the wheel of legal framework. The result from this research work shows that there is lack of accountability which has fueled corruption and the whole scenario is termed as a model for economic underdevelopment in the Nigeria. The government is therefore advised to tackle this problem with every resources at their disposal to free our country from this monster that has eaten into the fabric of our economic development.
In the light of this study, the researcher makes the following recommendations.
- Should ensure that they create enabling environment for the development of professional Accountants and employed them in the civil service. This will be achieved by retaining the existing through motivation and attracting the new with good working conditions.
- The problem of ethical and accountability failure in the public sector should be tackled by strengthening the capacity for control institutions through re-orientation programs
- A proactive legislature and regulatory framework that should not only exist on paper but must be operational.
- The provision of 1999 constitution giving time for submission of financial statement auditing and report, and- review by PAC should be strictly adhered to with punishment spelled out for non-compliance
- The constitution should be amended to provide for the qualification of members of PAC.
Professional Accounting Bodies:
- The professional bodies should redesign their programmes and carry out more enlightenment campaign activities to attract more Nigerians to the profession.
- There should be re orientation of members to encourage them to work in the public sector.
Another control mechanism is that the citizenry should be motivated by the civil society and organized labour union to be more vibrant in other challenge the actions of the bureaucrats.
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