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FINANCIAL CONTROL AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN PUBLIC SECTOR ORGANISATION

ABSTRACT 

The research work examined the usefulness of financial control and accountability in the public sector institutions in Nigeria. The objectives of the study were to investigate if the control of public funds is appropriate and to find out whether necessary accounts are kept and to examine the proper administration of government funds.  The research was carried out, using the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State as the case study. Primary Data was collected through convenience sampling method and using self-administered questionnaires for 40 respondents. They included Staff in the Audit and Account department. Also, Secondary data was retrieved from the Central Bank of Nigeria Statistical Bulletin on federally generated revenue and expenditure incurred (Capital and Revenue). Chi- Square was used to test the hypotheses. Simple Linear Regression was used to analyze the secondary data to test for the relationship between the revenue generated by federal government and expenditure incurred. From the findings, it was found that financial controls and accountability exist in the public sector. The researcher also found that a positive relationship exists between revenue generated by federal government and expenditures incurred. This study concluded that financial control and accountability is effective and efficient. Therefore, the study recommends that existing financial controls should be strengthened to improve accountability in the public sector in Nigeria.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Public sector is a part of the economy set up, operated and financed by government and its agencies distinguishable from the private sector and is organized on behalf of the whole people. Public organizations in Nigeria signify the most leading economic force, as a result efficient and effective systems of government financial management which are also in form of internal and financial control are vital for budgeting the nation’s resources. It also smoothens the progress of the emergence of economic maturation processes through accountability. There is a broad opinion that most of the public institutions have failed to deliver on the basis for which they were established. Management incompetence and inadequacy have been advanced by practitioners and researchers of public enterprises as the bane of the Nigerian public sector.

Premchand, (1999) sees public financial management as the link between the community’s aspirations with resources, and the present with future. It lies at the very heart of operations and financial policy of government. The knowledge of accountability is seen to be as old as organised government. In a narrow sense, it is usually associated with financial dealings in which those concerned are deemed to be under a duty bound to give a formal statement of monetary involvement. In other words, it is a system in which individuals and organizations are delighted to be accountable for their conducts and responsibilities.

The exact problems emphasized in this study were factors combating against effective internal control system in the Nigerian public sector institutions. These problems include; poor accountability and lack of sound financial control system. The level of accountability is very poor in Nigeria because the attributes of convenience, completeness, significance, quality, dependability and timely disclosure of financial, social and political information about government activities are completely not available or partially available for the citizens to assess the performance of public officers mostly the political office holders and also the management of  public funds in terms of how public office holders give accountability report of their stewardship. Other problems include poor administration of government funds. Also, accounts of public sector organisations are characterised by inadequacies such as, improper book keeping of accounts and other necessary records, embezzlement of public funds most especially among top officials.

1.2   STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Nigerian Public Sector is plagued with a number of problems. These problems hinder it from discharging its duties and responsibilities effectively and efficiently for the betterment of the people. One of such problem is that of financial control and accountability. Financial control and accountability becomes a problem when there is no strict measure to ensure compliance with the laid down regulations guiding financial transaction and accountability in public sector. In other words, the lack of justification of estimate, superintending the use of appropriated funds and timing the rate of expenditure and auditing of account constitute the problems which triggers this investigation. In addition to the above mentioned problems, other problematic areas in the public sector finance includes:

·  Fraudulent practices by public officer and agencies.

·  Maintaining and operating proper accounting system as required by law.

·  Inadequate internal system in each unit.

·  Problem of poor coordination

1.3    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

Within the ambit of this research topic, “Financial control and accountability in Public Sector”, The purpose of study is not farfetched. The purposes of the study can be summarized in these ways:

i.  To examine whether there is appropriate control of public funds in public sectors in Nigeria.

ii.  To ascertain if accounts of public agencies are properly kept and maintained.

iii.  To establish whether financial controls and accountability in the public sector are effective and efficient.

1.4   RESEARCH QUESTIONS

i.  Are there appropriate control of public funds in public sectors in Nigeria?

ii.  Are accounts of public agencies properly kept and maintained?

iii.  Are there financial controls and accountability in the public sector effective and efficient?

1.5    RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

Hypothesis I

H0:   There is no appropriate control of public funds in public sectors in Nigeria.

 

H1:   There is appropriate control of public funds in public sectors in Nigeria.

 

Hypothesis II

H0:  Accounts of public agencies are not properly kept and maintained.

H1:  Accounts of public agencies are properly kept and maintained.

Hypothesis III

H0:  Financial controls and accountability in the public sector are not ineffective and inefficient.

H1:  Financial controls and accountability in the public sector are effective and efficient.

1.6   SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research work will be of immense benefit to those in the top management cadre in the government ministries and parastatals and to the general public. For top management, the information gained from this work will help them streamline their financial regulation and assist in fraud detection. Secondly, young researchers will also find the result of this, work a very useful resources material for work. This is so because the information have given them the basic knowledge needed to pursue their work to a logical conclusion. On a more general note, the research will also add to the existing body of knowledge in the subject matter. Conclusively, this work will as a matter of fact help public organizations know whether or not they have appropriate control mechanism in terms of recourse management and fraud detection.

1.7   SCOPE OF THE STUDY

The research work is aimed at examining the effect of financial control and accountability in the public sector. On this account, a case study of staff of the Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State is chosen. Therefore is delimited to Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State alone.

1.8    DEFINITION OF TERMS

MANAGEMENT: For the purpose of this research, management means or connotes ‘the condition of being prudent in the use of scarce resources.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Accountability in this research work is considered as the quality of being answerable to one’s action or conduct.

CONTROL: Control means ensuring that the functions of the different unit and agents in the public sector do not work at cross purposes but in rhythm to ensure achievement of corporate goals.

INTERNAL CONTROL: Auditing guideline defines internal control as “the whole system of controls, financial and otherwise established by management in order to carry out government business”.

GOVERNMENT FINANCES: Government finance refers to the wide range of activities undertaken by government in financial and economic matters (The new Encyclopedia Britannica 1988).

ETHICS:  Ethics simply put refers to what is ‘right’, just  and what ‘just’  in the decisions and actions that  affects  other people as a financial or accounting officer or manager in the public sector.

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