ACCOUNTING IN THE NIGERIA PUBLIC SECTOR
Today must public sector establishment has been accused of financial recklessness perpetrated by various ministries and parastatals, thus has opened up an can of worms in the bosom of our public sector. The problem often experienced by operators of government establishment like Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS) in maintaining a good accounting system with a view to enhancing accountability is the object of the research work. However, chapter one deals strictly with the over view of the study in the introduction of the topic, also a brief history of the establishment (ESBS) their target, problems etc. Chapter two talked about the basis of public sector Accounting, Acts regulating Nigeria public sector Accounting. Financial control in government accounting, comparison between government and commercial accounting, users of public sector accounting and finally some problems were identified. This research work was carried out through oral interviews and distribution of questionnaires for the collection of data & relevant information from the departments of public affairs and accounts of the Enugu State Broadcasting Service (ESBS). Also information was sourced through secondary data, which includes textbooks, annual report and customer service of ESBS. The following chapter death with the analysis of data and testing the formulated questionnaire with chi-square technique. Finally, the summary of the findings, conclusion and recommendations were discussed.
1.2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
This historical perspective briefly traces the genesis of government accounting back to the ancient civilization of England and Nigerian as well as to the medieval civilizations of Europe up to the colonial experiences of Nigeria in the early 20th century.
i. ENGLAND: Government accounting in Britain emerged in the Middle Ages. Early government tax rolls and manorial account books are among the oldest surviving documents in the English language. After the invasion of England Williams the Conqueror took the tithe of all properly in the name of the Crown and 1086AD had a survey made which included all real properties and the taxes due on them. The survey was documented in the Domes daybook. From this book, the great roll of the exchequer, otherwise referred to as the pipe roll was compiled. Beginning in 1130AD, the pipe roll provides 700-year narrative description of rent, fines, taxes and other levies due to the British Crown, together with a summary of payment made on these debts and expenses incurred in collecting them.
The sheriff was collected of the king’s revenues and bailiff of his country estate, which were farmed out for a fixed rent. The sheriff collected rent for the use of road, forest and fields, town, fine penalties and other taxes. He was the chief executive accountable at the exchequer. Twice per year the sheriff of each country was summoned to attend the exchequer session at Westminster. There he rendered his account and necessary reconciliation was made. When all the crown’s counters were balanced by payments, tallies and allowances vouchers, the sheriff was required to swear to the Marshall of the exchequer that he had made his lawful account according to his conscience and thereafter released to returns to his country Millicamp (2006).
The origins of English Budgeting are closely associated with the long struggle to democratize taxation. The bill of rights of 1989 provided for the parliamentary consent before any one may be taxed. During the 18th century, parliament required the crown to prepare annual estimates of all other government departments. It became an accepted practice for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to deliver to the parliament, on behalf of the king, a comprehensive report on national finances at the beginning of each fiscal year. Having taken over the king’s taxing and spending power, parliament faced the task of holding officials at all levels accountable for their use of public funds.
In 1785 an act for the better examining and auditing of the public account as passed to ensure a rigorous examination of the accounts of every department of government. This was followed in 1787 with the passage of the consolidated fund act, thus providing an overall basis for accountability via a general fund through which all government revenue and expenditure passed. Starting from 1802, these statements included details of revenues and expenditure and indicated the prospective surplus or deficit.
ii. NIGERIA: The making of a nation, Nigeria spans several hundreds of years and embraces periods of Arabic influences in the north and European influences in the South. Prior to the arrival of the Europeans, great ancient kingdoms of Hausa-land, Igbo-land, Kanri-land and Yoruba-land had existed within the country’s frontiers. There had been some system of tributes taxes to the raling monarchs.
For example Income tax was first introduced into modern Nigeria in 1904 by Lord Lugard when community tax became operative in Northern Nigeria.
Government Accounting in Nigeria can be traced into the Native Revenue Proclamation No 2 of 1906 which was the first step taken by the British colonial government to Introduce a comprehensive legislation on direct taxation in the colony. It applied only to Northern Nigeria and empowered the resident of each province with the approval of government to fix and access the tribute payable by the people. These taxes were “Kurdin Savauta” (accession duty). In The 1914 amalgamation gave Nigeria one consolidated revenue. Thereafter the government regularly faced the problem of how best to use this revenue for the benefit of the people all over the country. The problem of revenue allocation in Nigeria’s administrative history predated federations. It formed part of the negotiations for the amalgamations o Nigeria, and was examined by the Niger committee in 1893 under the need for pooling economic resources. The amalgamation gave Nigeria common railway telegraphs, customs and excise a Supreme Court, a standard time, a common currency and common civil service.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Government establishment are set up to provide social services at affordable price for the public welfare. Their finance mainly comes from government subvention.
The following are the problems facing public sector.
1. Financial indiscipline and lack of accountability in the public sector.
2. High wave of crimes, corruption and fraud.
3. The effect of technology and intensified use of computer.
4. Lack of audited financial reports.
5. Incompetence among accounting personnel.
6. Budgeting practices.
7. Inadequate bookkeeping records and accounting systems.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
The major objective of this research work is to evaluate accounting in Nigeria public sector; issues, problems and prospects, with particular reference to Enugu state Broadcasting Service. The specific objectives of this research work includes the following;
1. To determine the adequacy of the existing system of accounting in the Nigeria public sector.
2. To ascertain the evidence of accountability for the stewardship of government funds.
3. To make available vital information on government control and prudent management of government resources.
4. To identify and analyze the problems associated with the system of accounting adopted by this with a view of tracing their cause and make necessary recommendations.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION
The researcher formulated the following research questions;
1. What is the level of the adequacy of the existing system of accounting in Enugu state Broadcasting Service?
2. Is there any evidence of accountability for the stewardship of government funds in Nigeria public sector?
3. Is there vital information on government control and prudent management of government resources?
4. What are the problems associated with the system of accounting adopted by this with a view of tracing their cause and make necessary recommendations?
1.4 RESEARCH HYPOTHESIS
To carry out extensive work on this project, the following relevant hypotheses have been formulated. In my hypothesis, the null hypothesis is Ho while the alternative hypothesis is HI. These hypothesis are shown below:
Ho: Public sector accounts do not work hard as their counterparts in the private sector.
H1: Public sector accounts works hard than their counterparts in the private sector.
Ho: Subvention from the government account does not form major source revenue.
Hi: Subvention from the government account form major source revenue.
Ho: The general attitude of accounting staff toward accountability is encouraging.
Hi: The general attitude of accounting staff toward accountability is not encouraging.
Ho: Cash basis accounting principle adopted for government sector is a problem militating against effective accounting system.
Hi: Cash basis accounting principle adopted for government sector is not a problem militating against effective accounting system.
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The importance of this project cant be over emphasis, as this will improve the quality of accounting system in most government establishment.
The following will also benefit from this study:
1. Staff and practitioners of government who might find the information very useful in improving their job.
2. Operators of government establishment need these financial information for decision making.
3. It also serves as references materials to lecturers, students, researcher etc who might need them for academic purpose in the future.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is basically intended to cover the objective nature of public sector accounting functions and control of government accounting it will also access the problems confronting the establishment and indeed how to maintain a good accounting system with a view to enhancing accountability.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The researcher was faced with so many problems during the research work. These problems includes the following:
a. INSUFFICIENT FUND: One of the major problems inherent during the research period which the researcher suffered most was insufficient fund to carryout the research work conveniently, due to visits the various data centers to sources for relevant data.
b. INADEQUATE DATA: Most of the collecting centers visited to do not have adequate data for the information needed and some of them were not willing to give out their material to researcher.
c. INSUFFICIENT TIME: Another constraint faced by the researcher during the research work is insufficient time. The time given for this research work is too short for the researcher to combine both class work and the research work. This affected the researcher most.
1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS
This is concerned with verifiable facts about the future. It may be defined as the process, which deals with measurement and involves the collection, classification and presentation of information in money terms on economic activities in the form of events and transactions, and the communication of the information in appropriate form to internal and external user groups.
ii. PUBLIC SECTOR:
It can be defined as that sector of any economy distinguishable from the private sector, which is under the control of government unit possessing the over-riding goal of deliberate delivery of goods and services at low profit most of the time.
iii. PUBLIC SECTOR ACCOUNTING:
This may be defined as the composite activity of recording, classifying, analyzing, summarizing and interpreting government transactions for the benefit of interested parties in government accounting information.
iv. FINANCIAL REGULATION:
It is defined as a body of rules setting the procedure for collection, custody and transmission of funds and property, procurement and of funds and property, procurement and payment for goods and, service tenders boards procedures, stores and inventory verifications operation of departmental budgets, commitment accounting, accounting for imprested and official advances, wages and payroll control system and returns, banking transactions, insurance and claims, importing and clearing, authorization of expenditures internal checks and internal audit.
v. FINANCE 9CONTROL AND MANAGEMENT) ACT 1958:
This act as amended governs the management and operation of government funds.
vi. TREASURY AND FINANCE CIRDULARS:
These are administrative instrument, which are used to amend the existing provisions of financial regulations civil service rules. The office of the accountant general of the federation and the civil service commission issues them.
vii. APPROPRIATION ACT:
The appropriation act is enacted each year to regulate finance and accounting matters. It is made to back up withdrawal of money from the consolidated revenues fund or any other government fund.
viii. FINANCIAL YEAR
Any period of twelve (12) months adopted by the government as its accounting year.
ix. ACCOUNTANT GENERAL
This is the chief account officer which ensure that proper system of account prescribed by the relevant activity also responsible for the supervision of the accounts of all ministries and department within the federation and also preparation of financial statement as required by the law.
x. ACCOUNTING MANUALS:
This is a statement written code of instruction and administrative practice dealing with department procedure and clerical process relating to transaction.
Xi. CONTINGENCY FUND
This is a fund created specially for urgent and unforeseen expenditure use during emergence case like war, flood, and earthquake.
xii. CASH ACCOUNTING
It refers to when revenue and expenditure transactions are reported in the period in which it occurs, any expenditure or income in that year cannot be carried forward to the next financial year.
xiii. AUDITOR GENERAL
The auditor general of the federation is charged with the audit of the accounts of all accounting officers and all persons entrusted with the collection, receipt, and custody of cash.
xiv. CALL CIRCULARS.
These are sent by the government to all ministries, which is aimed at focusing government objective in the year under review. Each department in response to the call circular constitutes a budget committee, which examine the draft proposal submitted by the different department or ministries. If approved by the ministry, then passed to the inter-ministerial estimate committee thus, this inter-ministerial committee comprising all the government ministries and each ministry defend his ministry submission and once they are approved, the estimate are passed onto the executive council for final approval at the executives level.
xv. CONSOLIDATED REVENUE FUND
This is a statutory established fund in which al public revenue paid or received by government are kept. Thus this fund is used for recurrent expenditure and 75% of the development fund comes from this consolidated revenue fund any withdraw from the (CRF) must be approved and authorized through the appropriate law.
xvi. DEVELOPMENT FUND
Is used to finance general capital expenditure of the federal government & the account are kept by the accountant general of the federation.