BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
From the beginning of the oil boom in the year 1970’s, so many people were believed that the days of scarcity are over, giving way to abundant resources. The major problem at that time was how to plan, for the societies to be faced with the rapid increase in leisure and material wealth which where the basic needs of the people. The priority of the nation shifted immensely as a result of Nigerians embracing the rise in material wealth which is associated with poor planning and plenty of waste. The cost of advancing the government brought about enlargement of bureaucracy and social activities increased greatly as money generated from oil boom was lavished with immorality and carelessness. Inflation, affluence and pageantry life- style became the part and parcel of Nigerians.
Years later, in 1980’s the fall of oil prices brought in a tremendous blow on the economy of Nigeria. The financial instability of the nations brought about inflation, crises, lack of assets and unfriendly balance of payment pushed the government into introducing several economic survival strategies such as: the reconstruction of the policy and economic stabilization by the segun shagari administration and lots of reforms and commissions where put in place to bring about rational behaviour and spending reasonably on the citizens to a level suitable to remedy and improvement of the situation in the nearest future. For this purpose accountability in public offices to give account of public resources became necessary, be it funds, public statement, properties, actions, personal behaviors and performance which will continue to be of great concern to policy makers.
As the nation continues to feel the increase in economic squeeze, the managerial practices of public officers will be under great audit account. Therefore, if government and public officers are not competent to give account for the way they use resources, then there will bring about a complete lack of confidence and trust on programme and activities, which necessarily resulting to general depression and discontent among the citizens and might even bring about breakdown of law and order in the Nation. Therefore, the intrinsic challenges’ facing the government is to improvise ways of ensuring accountability of public officers to the taxpayers for the scarcity of resources under their care and for their actions while carrying out their duties. In earnest, accountability in public administration can be referred to effective management of resources and funds for the general wellbeing of the citizens. However, the intention of this research is to examine the different policies government aimed at ensuring accountability among public officers, determine environmental factors that militate against accountability and proposed strategies for effective financial management and propriety among public officers in the country. Pursuit for these intentions wills bring about relevant discussions of accountability to fight against corruption, as a mechanism for controlling squandering of funds, giving values property and effective management of public of fund.
Nigeria today, accountability has become a thing of great concern to both the taxpayers and the government. Accountability to public administrators refers to efficiency in financial or materials management of scare resources. It represents the idea of doing much with the little given and being able to give account for every segment of the resources used 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 way by which a public officer will 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 and funds belonging to the public. This means that there is a solid agreement either by verbal or in written or indicating that the public officer must give an account of his actions regarding the property to the owner (the public, government or his representatives).
Recent times, it is the pattern in which public funds and properties are wasted with insanity either by embezzlement, the crime of intent to cause damage, accidents, mismanagement or misappropriation and application funds, to ponder whether the abandoned machineries, equipment, cars which found littered in all our government houses and the government ministries which belongs to one person, can’t it be repair and put them back into use? Other than going for new ones. 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, numerous cases of embezzlement involving millions of naira have been found in various ministers in the local government, state and in the federal level with the attitude of public officers and government showing a luke-warm towards the offence which have been committed. This is a way of encouraging more embezzlement of funds, as punishments on the offending public officers are not implemented.
Most Nigerians have come to accept and believe public offices as a place of “money making.” It no new that those public officer make one millions of naira after one year in office meanwhile his salary has not amount to even two hundred thousand naira annually. The level at which corruption has rise and Infact has polluted our public institution and the rate is alarming. A panel set up by the government was saying “there were 10 to 70 outstanding audit quarries in 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:
(a) The average Nigerian is corrupt, dishonest, nepotic, tribalistic and lazy and is all the time seeking for the opportunity to defraud and cheat his employer.
(b) 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.
(c) 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 Kogi 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 economic growth and development in our country, Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE GENERAL 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.
1.3 THE OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The aim and objectives of this study include;
i. To identify the various factors that militates against accountability in Kogi state of Nigeria
ii. To determine the implication of accountability, its effects on economic growth and development in kogi state.
iii. To determine the attitude of Nigerians towards accountability.
iv. Finally, to suggest based on my findings some remedies for appropriate accountability among public officers
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
i. What are the various factors that militate against accountability in Kogi state of Nigeria?
ii. To determine the implication of accountability, its effects on economic growth and development Nigeria?
iii. What is the attitude of Nigerians towards accountability?
iv. What are the remedies for appropriate accountability among public officers?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
HO: Accountability in the public sector does not influence economic growth in Nigeria.
HA: Accountability in the public sector influences economic growth in Nigeria.
1.6. 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: –
(1) To the student, it will provide a compliment to the few exiting text on monetary and material resource accountability
(2) To researches, it will serves as a valuable source of data
(3) 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.
(4) 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.
(5) 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.
1.6. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
However, this research is vividly restricted to Kogi 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.
1.7. LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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:
Accounting: – 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.
Accounting system: 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.
Accounting Policies: 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
Internal control: 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.
Economic development: 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.
Public administration: 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.
Economic growth: According to Augustine E. Ejili (1996) Economic growth is quantitative increase in the output of commodities per head.
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