THE IMPACT OF PUBLIC SECTOR ACCOUNTING IN NIGERIA FINANCIAL CONTROL SYSTEM

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Public sector is that sector of the economy established and operated by government and its agencies distinguishable from the private sector and are organized on behalf of the whole citizens while Public sector accounting is the process government agencies and municipalities use to record financial transactions.

Mathias, (2004:78). Said, similar to private sector accounting in theory, the focus of public sector accounting is somewhat different. Most government agencies and municipalities need to track funds generated from tax revenues and expenditures related to projects or appropriations. In addition, nations may need to follow a set of standard of accounting principles different from private sector accounting rules. The creation of an international accounting standard helps nations to follow similar rules in other to present information in a similar manner.

Government accounting typically uses a set of rules that tracks financial information. Rather than attempting to determine how much money a public sector entity has made, the entity must report financial information to interested parties, primarily constituents. The separation of money into these funds makes it difficult for government agency or municipality to spend money on unauthorized purposes. Elected officials or legislatures 11

must create appropriations or spending authorizations to transfer funds amongst government fund accounts. This process attempts to restrict the spending of money on a free-will basis that will quickly deplete an agency‟s resources

Similar to private sector accounting, public sector accounting principles often seek to lay a framework for accounting practices.

Afolabi,( 2004:320). Said rather than creating a hard set of rules to follow, the principles allow for an application of basic principles to either large and small entities or municipalities. An international set of accounting principles is also necessary for smaller nations to learn and adopt rules that will enhance their internal national accounting process. Most times, developing nations cannot or do not have the resources capable to create and instil a framework for their public sector accounting practices. Adopting an international set of accounting rules will help them overcome this problem and typically helps them start on the path better infrastructure development.

Another purpose of public sector accounting is to create a standard expectation of ethics and accountability for a nation‟s financial information. Standard public accounting principles will also make it easier for a nation to undergo an audit. it is also harder for countries to hide inappropriate financial transactions when using public sector accounting principles. This research study will therefore appraise the impact of public 12

sector accounting in Nigerian financial control system focusing on Esan South East local government.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The problems inherent in this research study as investigated by the researcher are;

  1. INADEQUATE REVENUE: that is, the source of revenue available to Esan South East Local Government authority most often is not enough for them, as this invariably affects diverse activities that are carried out in the local government area.
  2. Poor administration of local government funds.
  3. Another problem is the fact that the control of public fund adopted by the local government is inappropriate. It is as a result of this that there are still setbacks in the local government as regards to infrastructural development.
  4. The adoption of inappropriate and ineffective public sector accounting principles and guidelines.
  5. Another problem is that the accounts of the local government are characterized by inadequacies such as, improper maintenance and book keeping of accounts and other necessary records, embezzlement of public funds especially by the top officials.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to appraise the impact of public sector accounting in Nigerian financial control system and also to aid local government improve on their revenue generation and collection to that point where all collectable revenue are actually collected and safely paid into the council treasury.

Other objectives include the following:

  1. To investigate whether the sources of revenue available to Esan South East Local Government authority is enough for them.
  2. To find out whether the revenue generated within the local government is put into good use.
  3. To ascertain whether the control of public fund adopted by the local government is appropriate.
  4. To determine if the accounts of the local government are characterized by inadequacies such as, improper maintenance and book keeping of accounts and other necessary records, embezzlement of public funds especially by the top officials.
  5. To examine if the public sector accounting principles applied by the local government is appropriate and effective and also to recommend strategies by which the local government can use in detailing out funds and prevent revenue leakages.

1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS

The following research questions are formulated for the purpose of this research work:

  1. Are the sources of revenue available to Esan South East Local Government authority enough for them?
  2. Are the revenues generated within the local government put into good use?
  3. Is the control of public fund by the local government appropriate?
  4. Are the accounts of the local government characterized by inadequacies such as improper book keeping and maintenance of other records etc?
  5. To what extent do the irregularities as regards to public fund in the local government affect the diverse activities of the local government?
  6. Are the public sector accounting principles applied by the local government appropriate and effective?

1.5 FORMULATION OF RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

The following hypotheses are formulated for the purpose of this research work:

HO: the public sector accounting principles applied by Esan South East Local Government authority is inappropriate and ineffective

HI: the public sector accounting principles applied by Esan South East Local Government authority is appropriate and effective 15

HO: the sources of revenue available to Esan South East Local Government authority is not enough for them

H2: the sources of revenue available to Esan South East Local Government authority is enough for them

HO: the control of public fund by the local government is inappropriate

H3: the control of public fund by the local government is appropriate

1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

This research work will be of immense significance to the staff of Esan East local government. It will go a long way in enlightening them on the concept of public sector accounting as well as the best strategies to be adopted to monitor its generated funds. This research work will as well be of benefit to students and researchers because it will widen their scope from the information contained in this research work and lastly, it will help the entire nation in modifying the methods and approaches used by different ministries, parastatals and other inter-ministerial departments in their financial control system and also it will help them in improving revenue generations and minimizes expenditures since public sector is differentiate able from private sector or bodies.

1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY

This research work on the impact of public sector accounting in Nigerian financial control system is focused on Esan East local government of Edo state.

1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

This research would have been generalized to all local government areas in Nigeria but due to some numerous factors, I have decided to limit my study to Esan south East local government area, Edo state.

The following are the constraints encountered in this research:

  1. FINANCIAL CONSTRAINT: Finance is the key to the success of every research work and the said finance was readily unavailable on my part as at the time I was carrying out this research and as such, proper research will not be carried out if I go about all local governments in Nigeria.
  2. TIME CONSTRAINT: The time stipulated for the submission of this work was obviously too short and as such was unable to go about all local government areas in Nigeria.
  3. LACK OF KNOWLEDGEABLE AND SINCERE PERSONNEL: some of the officials employed or appointed in most local governments in Nigeria including that of Esan south East local government has no knowledge of what public sector accounting is and they are also not approachable because they placed themselves on a very high esteem and even when one is opportune to interview them, there is sure to be 1shortcomings arising from the basis such as, misinformation, and deliberate distortion of facts and these is as a result of not letting one know where revenue comes from and how it is been utilized.
  1. LACK OF RESERCH FACILITIES: Research facilities such as transportation makes research work easier and interesting but it is noted that Nigeria has a poor transportation system especially in the area were most local government secretariat are situated and this restricted me from going about all local government areas and as such, I was forced to focus my study on Esan south East local government area though, the research was still very difficult to carry out.
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