FINANCIAL CONTROL AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN OSHIMILI SOUTH LOCAL GOVERNMENT
ABSTRACT The study examined financial control and accountability in public sector. The need for financial control has become imperative given the high level of financial irregularities manipulated in almost all public sector institution in the country. To this end, the researcher sort to determine if financial control and accountability would improve performance of public sector in Nigeria. The research work formulated three hypotheses. The research work which is survey based utility primary data specifically designed questionnaire administered to Federal Medical Centre, Asaba and Ministry of Women Affairs Community and Social Development, Asaba; analysis of the data was carried out using frequency distribution table and percentage while hypothesis found out that the level of financial control and accountability in public sector is adequate in government parastatals and also the system of financial control in governance parastatals is cost effective. The researcher thereafter recommended that 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, appointment of key officers in public sector should be done on merit and not on political affiliation, internal control unit! auditing department of public sector should be independent in order to guarantee professionalism and also the provision of 1999 constitution giving time for submission of financial statement auditing and report and review by Public Account Committee should be strictly adhered to with punishment spelled out for non-compliance.
1.1 Statement of the Problem In public sector accounting, auditing is most neglected and often misunderstood. Recently, government has developed a maxim which says that “profit and accountability should be a “watch dog”. But in the true sense, profit and accountability are not encouraged because most of the government financial transactions are audited or reviewed for five (5) years or more. Fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation of fraud are now a common feature in the public sector. The bane of public sector financial mismanagement in Nigeria since the oil boom year a period under which there existed structurally weak control mechanism, which creates a variety of loopholes that have tended to facilitate and sustain corrupt practices. This is coupled with the fact that there is a near total absence of the notion and ethics of accountability in the conduct of public affairs in the country (Bello, 2001). The alarming rate of this practice constitute a major threat to the corporate growth and existence of the economy since the main aim of public corporation is to use public funds to provide facilitates which will benefit all citizens. It is on basis of the above problem that the researcher intends to examine the essence of internal audit as an instrument for effective financial control and accountability in the public sector. In an effort to investigate the effectiveness of internal auditing in the operation of the enterprise one needs to understand the nature of the organizational set up to find out where they come from. Appah & Appiah (2010) argues that cases of fraud is prevalent in the Nigerian public sector that every segment of the public service, could seem to be involved in one way or the other in some of these nasty acts. 1.2 Objective of the study Internal audit is a sub-system of the internal control system used in financial controls accountability set up by management and this system is an important system for the survival of any business enterprise. This work is set out as a research based on the following objectives: 1. To examine the financial control and accountability in the government and to ensure that if properly designed, installed and implemented, fraud, embezzlement and misappropriation will be minimized. 2. To review and appraise the effectiveness, adequacy and application of accounting financial and other operating controls and promoting effective control at a reasonable cost. 3. To examine the total review or over haul of financial control and accountability in government parastatals. 1.3 Research question The following questions are formulated in order to effectively carryout this study: a. Is the level of financial control and accountability operational in government parastatals adequate to reduce, if not eliminate embezzlement and misappropriation? b. Is the system of financial control in government parastatals cost effective? c. Does the need arise for a total review or over haul of financial control and accountability in government parastatals?
1.4 Research Hypothesis For the purpose of this study, I put forward the following hypothesis: Hypothesis one Ho: The level of financial control and accountability in public sector is not adequate in government parastatals. Hi: The level of financial control and accountability in public sector is adequate in government parastatals. Hypothesis two Ho: The system of financial control in government parastatals is not cost effective. Hi: The system of financial control in government parastatals is cost effective. Hypothesis three Ho: The need does not arise for a total overview or overhaul of financial control and accountability in government parastatals. Hi: The need does arise for a total overview or overhaul of financial control and accountability in government parastatals.
1.5 Scope of the study