The Problem and Prospect of Financial Control in Organisation Public Sector

The Problem and Prospect of Financial Control in Organisation Public Sector

ABSTRACT

The subject matter of this study is problem and prospect of financial control in organisation public sector in Owerri North Imo State.

A research on this topic could not be more appropriate than new since all the workers in the civil services especially those involve in government finance operations are well acquainted with financial control. Therefore, the main motive of research was to look into the financial control in public sectors organistion.

Public accountability is not a new phenomenon, it is old as man in his social relational with his fellowman. There was an element of answer which illustrate stewardship of accountability in government.

Moreso, in this research work secondary were used only in collecting data. This method was done by collecting the existing literature or desk research method.

The researcher now presented and analyse all the facts she had collected that are related to the research work.

Finally, based on the above data analysis in chapter four and five, the researcher made some finding and recommendation and also conclusion, which would alleviate the difficulties uncounted by the public sector organisation.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Financial control as the name implies means the proper management and control of financial aspects, the efficiency effective and management of finance of the organisation. The finance control and management law 1968 is designed for control and management for the public financial and matters connected there with and it stipulates under section 33 that the accountant general shall under to the auditor general accounts showing the financial position of the state at the end of every financial year and these include:

(a) Statement showing the sums estimated to be received as revenue into the consolidated revenue fund and sums actually so received in the period of account.

(b) Statement of assets and liabilities.

(c) A statement showing the sums estimated to be issued out of the consolidated revenue fund and the sums actually so issued in the period of accounts.

So in every organisation or public sector, there is the need for financial control.

Therefore, owerri North ministry of finance should not be an exception. Every staff of the ministry is involved to some extent in controlling of financial as well answerable to their conduct.

Almost all the workers in the civil services especially those involved in government financial operation and well acquainted with and an updated knowledge of the principles of financial controls. Financial control is linked with financial planning. This is not withstanding control parameter are outcomes of financial planning decisions.

However, systematic planning in itself requires a degree of control in terms of its process and procedures. In most cases, government constitutes largest single business entity and in many places, the core of the economy.

Its pattern of expenditure or manner of resources allocation determines the extent to which accountability for economy, efficiency and effectiveness can be achieved.

1.2 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE CASE STUDY

Owerri North is a Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Orie Uratta. It has an area of 198 km² and a population of 175,395 at the 2006 census. The postal code of the area is 460 Owerri North is a Local Government Area of Imo State, Nigeria. Its headquarters are in the town of Orie Uratta. It has an area of 198 square km and a population of 175,395 at the 2006 census. The postal code of the area is 460.

Owerri North is semi-urban government area. It encircles Owerri Municipal like a peninsular. Six major roads that lead out of the municipal cuts across Owerri North Communities. In the North, Orlu road leads to Amakaohia and Akwakuma communities. In the East, Okigwe road leads to Orji Community. In the West, MCC road off Wetheral to Obibi Uratta and Ihitaoha communities. In the South, Mbaise road leads to Egbu and Emekuku communities, while Aba road leads to Nazi, Agbala and Ulakwo communities.

Natural and Agricultural Resources

– Palm Products/Palm Oil, Nuts
– Maize
– Cassava
– Crude Oil

Businesses and Investments

– Palm Oil Null
– Food Processing
– Fruit Processing
– Refinery
– Feed Null – See more at:

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

There is a general notion that government finance is fraught with numerous problems ranging from frivolous expenditure, lack of fraught to embezzlement and mismanagement of public funds. This situation calls for adequate financial control measure.

Some of the identified problems and prospect of financial control   in the public sector organization in owerri North includes:

  1. Lack of effective internal control and audit system.
  2. Indifference to revenue generation.
  3. Failure to conform to financial instructions and regulations.
  4. Late auditing of ministerial accounts
  5. Late finalization and publication of account and poor keeping of internal accounting records.
  6. Personal problems involving lack of knowledge and expertise among government accountants occupying higher levels of responsibility
  7. Excess authorization of expenditure.

1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objectives of this research work include the following:

  1. To know the extent of financial control and prospect of financial control in public sector in owerri North.
  2. To highlight the need for financial control and public sector organization.
  3. To ascertain the prospects and problems occurred in the system.
  4. To review what financial control and public sector problem and prospect.

1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

We gain nothing in saying that owerri North as an organized public sector has enormous need for a sound and good accounting system. To say the least, government occupies a pivotal position on any economy. Award that the pattern of expenditure determines the extent to which allocation can be made to a ministry, it is therefore of practical importance that an effective control system and machinery for accountability are installed. There is also the need for every public sector organization to establish and maintain an effective accounting information system, which could be timely, reliable and compatible with decision making and management control.

The accounting information system should be understandable and disclose government financial condition as well as results of its operations. The question now and: is there a system of financial control in owerri North Local Government Imo State Ministry of finance? If no; why? Yes the effective is the financial control system already in operation. What is the possibility of putting one in place?

1.5 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of study is limited to the Owerri North Imo state ministry of finance. The study will look into problem and prospect of financial control and public sector organization and final ways of achieving it where none exists. The word will attempt to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of the internal control system on the ministry with reference to the Imo State financial instruction volume 1. The investigation will highlight the impact of the state audit department and public accounts counted on the process.

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

A review of the nature of the problem and prospect of financial control in public sector organization , it adopts is a representation of what obtains in the public sector organization in Owerri North. The ministry is in charge of the finances of the local government, that is the revenues and expenditures of the Owerri North local government area in Imo State. The ministry collects from the state account un behalf of the local government, the state statutory allocation which is disbursed by the state ministry of finance on monthly basis. In conjunction with other ministered and non-ministerial departments, the ministry collects fees and taxes, stamp duties and other miscellaneous revenues.

Through deliberate economic policies, the ministry mobilized savings and domestic capital supervises and overseas the activities of parastatals of the government whose function include mobilization and revenue generation in order to enhance economic and social activities in the state. Such institution include Development Finance and Investment Company Limited (DPIC), Finance Broken Limited, etc.

The ministry is in-charge of all government investment and the revenues occurring there from. On expenditure, the ministry controls government expenditure through supplementary estimates, budgetary allocation and financial instructions to determine the mode, pattern and volume of expenditure.

The ministry also discharge the public debt obligations of the state.

The ministry collects analysis and data concerning the natural, human and financial resources of the state. It co-ordinates inter-ministerial, inter-state economic matters and those between the state and the federal government.

2.1 WHAT FINANCIAL CONTROL AND PUBLIC SECTOR IS ALL ABOUT

Financial control is the process, which assumes that financial resources are obtained economically and used effectively in the accomplishment of desired goals.

It can also described as a process which assumes that financial plans and resources are applied efficiently for the accomplishment of set organizational goal and objectives. In other words, there is a pre-determined objective which financial control seeks to ensure its accomplishment.

Accountability, although has not been precisely defined, but attempts have been made to explain what it means and implies; in the book “Financial management in the public sector” written by Dean and Oshisanic, accountability is simply defined as “answerability” that it to say, expectation from public office holders to give account of the responsibility entrusted in there through their superior officers to the general public.

Accountability is as old as human history. In every organized society, items of value are held for custody and for management, also by groups or individuals who are are not owned of the items. Anyone who holds and controls resources belonging to others is accountable to owners of the funds or items. Accountability in position has to do with resources of a community. Community here could be referred to be the state of the entire nation. Therefore, accountability has been entered in the various constitutional provisions enacted at various points in time, here in Nigeria to make accountability imperative for every public office holder whose is in a position of trays, as in practiced in every civilized society.

In ancient days, the accounts of a estate, the domain or manor were examined by reading them out by those who complied teem to the person in authority. Thus, there was an element of answerability. This illustrates the stewardship function of accountability in government. The explanation having been given, we will therefore focus on Enugu state ministry of finance, its principal officers, and other instruments put in place to ensure effective and efficient financial control in Owerri North Local Government public sector organization in Imo state.

THE COMMISSIONER

The office of the commissioner is a non-elective political position. The commissioner for finance is the chief executive of the ministry. He holds the office at the pleasure of the governor who is the only office holder recognized by the constitution of the FNN 1979. The commissioner is a member of the state executive council. The commissioner has the final say on policy matters involving the ministry. He imitates and defends such policies at the state executive council meeting.

THE ACCOUNTANT GENERAL

The accountant general is the head of treasury operations and accounts production department of the ministry of finance. He is the chief accounting officer of government, and has specific responsibility for the production, management and supervision of government accounts and for the regulation of government’s cash balances.

The accountant general is a cancer civil servant, and he has under his supervision all grades of accountants and executives officers (Accounts) including the sub-treasurers deployed in the various sub-treasures and pay offices.

THE PERMANENT SECRETARY

The permanent secretary is a career civil servant, next to command to the commissioner in the hierarchy. He is the chief accounting officer of the ministry. He has the responsibility for all financial matters of the ministry.

BUDGETARY CONTROL

Before defining budgetary control, it will be pertinent to define what budget is. Is can be defined as an estimate of probable future income and expenditure, especially that made by a government, society, private person etc.

Budgetary control is therefore defined as the control stages of the management planning and control cycle beginning with the budget and also included in controlling and measuring, reporting, analyzing and feedback. In a nutshell, budgetary control is concerned with ensuring that actual expenditure is in line with the objectives and levels of activities envisaged in the budget are achieved. The budgetary control operates a well defined accounting system will helps to ensure accountability through compliance with the system operational procedures. In budgetary control, however, appropriate financial reports serves as a basis for evaluating the extent of compliance with the standard, established by the various “naira stewardship” relationship in government environment. Therefore, budgetary control is part of the control system or points, which helps to ensure accountability.

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

Section 79(2) of the 1979 constitution brought the accounts of all state ministries, departments, statutory co-operations and parastatals and government controlled companies under the arm bit of the auditor general for state. Is to ensure accountability.

FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS

Financial instructions are yet another denial used for the purpose of control and accountability in public sectors. The financial institution usually states the broad principles to be followed in respect of financial control over expenditure.

AUDIT DEPARTMENT

The auditor general of that state heads the audit department of a state. The auditor general should be free from undue influence both in his attitude and in the structural relations between him and other public functionaries. The highest independence is an aspect the auditor general and his staff has to develop as professional. It is his duty to audit public account and report to the state house of Assembly.

PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITTEE

The public account committee (PAC) is the legacy which the British parliamentary system of government gave to Nigeria and which inspite of changes in the legislative system over the years has itself not changed. It was introduced into Nigeria’s parliamentary system on 1988. The public account committee report constitution a detailed commentary on financial management and accountability in the public sector. It considers auditors reports and implements recommendation.

AUDIT ALARM COMMITTEE

The audit alarm committee is a committee changed with the responsibility of preventing irregular payments before they are made and examining all cases of alarm raised and brought before it.

2.2 THE NEED FOR FINANCIAL CONTROL IN PUBLIC SECTOR

ACCOUNTABILITY IN OUR PUBLIC SECTOR

Fund is a limited resource. Its application should therefore be a subject of systematic planning with reference to set objective. For the accomplishment of goals, there is the need for control of available resources. The control will not only direct implementation of strategies but also ensure correctio9n and fortification as the case may be. A management of public resources owes it as a responsibility to give account of how he has managed the resources of a state to the citizens.

Since government is an institution of society and at the complete discretion of society, its survival necessarily depends on its ability to fulfill and to continue to fulfill the goals for what society requires the institution of government. This demands that government renders full account of its stewardship including the efficiency, effectiveness, and the economy with which it has utilized society’s resources in the performance of its duties and obligations to society.

Financial control is needed to ensure responsible citizenship and enable government to discharge its responsibilities to the citizens.

2.3 PROBLEMS/PROSPECT OF FINANCIAL CONTROL IN PUBLIC SECTOR

Financial control in the public sector can be duly appreciated when the meaning of the key words (control) is fully understood.

Control is the process, which ensures that causes of action are maintained and that the desired ends are achieved. This control is concerned with the successful implementation of a course of action as predetermined by a decision model, observation of results to see whether plans are being carried out correctly and implies corrective action as a result of evaluation.

The obligation owed by any one occupying a position of trust or responsibility to provide appropriate response to all state holders for action carried out or performance achieved in the discharge of his duties.

Accountability is obligation because it goes as a co-ollary to the responsibility and authority to perform assigned duties. Therefore, it is a necessity whether or not request is formally required following from the definition above, the prospect of financial control and accountability in the public sector requires an effective combination of the essential element of application function.

This involves effective deployment of resources and the reality of the faithful discharge of duties as required and as accounted for. It follows therefore, that financial control gives practical efficiently and effectiveness in all aspect of investment, financing and application decisions. It provides the instrumentality of checks and balances, record keeping and documentation as well as of the activities. It serves to keep operations track, regulations effect and expected result in view. Accountability on its parts, compliments the principles of control. It translates to mean the duty to ensure and account for use of one’s discretion (over resources). Accountability is meaningless if it does not spring from transparent medium. The prospects of financial range of approaches namely:

(i) FISCAL ACCOUNTABILITY INVOLVING

  • Adherence to applicable regulations
  • Consistency with good accounting principles.
  • Accuracy and fairness of reports
  • Reality and legitimacy of transactions

(ii) MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Competent information
  • Operational performance
  • Contribution to objectives

(iii) PROGRAMME ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Benefits
  • Impacts
  • Sustainability

(iv) INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTABILITY

  • Commitment
  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Transparency

By the nature of accountability and person who has any role to play at any point in time in the organizational process carry the responsibility to account for action undertaken. The level and content of accountability is further enhance by procedure influence such as timeliness of reports, authentication and communication as well as the process.

Within the formal organizational structure accountability is progressive and incremental. As it is obtained at one level, it becomes an input into and enhances accountability at the lower rang.

The four important criteria given above (fiscal managerial, progroamme, and individual accountability) are basic to public sector accountability. The criteria serve to define the dimension of accountability. A foremost implication is that the existing financial, administration legal and social ingredients have not been effective in promoting the desire culture of accountability in the public services. As those elements remains in place and for the fact that any measure aimed at improving accountability has to be build on them, it is with the view of providing further insights into their current status and prospects for remedial action.

From the forgoing, the prospect of financial control in Owerri North L.G.A can best be described as being dim and grim. This assumption is based on the observed absence of most of the essential elements of accountability. Although, in place are the various instrument of efficient and effective financial control, there would appear to be total erosion of the tenants of accountability among the officers of organisation. Among the key officers interviewed, there was more that showed convening evidence of accountability. There was more or less buck passing syndrome and non-acceptance of responsibility stuffier it therefore to say that financial control is far from being practiced.

CHAPTER THREE

3.0 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

This chapter is concerned with the methods adopted in this research work. The approach is informed by the special nature of the subject matter. Depending on secondary data alone, it is believed it would not have been enough to achieve a thorough and standard solution to the problems that prompted the works.

So the structured data instruments employed were deliberately designed not only to enable an assessment to the roots of the problems but also afford an afire leverage to come up with solutions to the problems that are articulate and can stand the test of time.

3.1 SOURCES OF DATA

SECONDARY SOURCES

There are accounts of events recorded by other researchers who obtained their facts from observation, interview etc, I did not rely heavily on them. I cross-checked the information I obtained from these sources.

DESK RESEARCH

In my desk research approach, I consulted books, journals newspapers periodicals, magazines and lecture notes obtained from workshop and seminars related to the subject matter. This method provided a great deal of information on the subject matter, which could not be obtained through the use of other instruments.

3.2 LOCATION OF DATA

An extensive use of library in Imo state for relevant materials were made by the research. The location of data include the following:

  • National library
  • Ministry of finance, Imo state
  • Commercial bank

3.3 METHOD OF DATA COLLECTION

The researcher adopted the secondary source of data collection. Hence the secondary source of data comprises of the review of related textbooks, journalsetc.

CHAPTER FOUR

FINDINGS

That there is a serious problem of lack of financial control in the public sector is not only well know but fairly documented. General and specific observation, within the service and comments from outside, all seem to suggest that problems is not only real but also enduring.

The following explains: Despite the tremendous oil-revenue booming of late 1973 and onwards there was the growth of institutionalized corruption of public life, the stupendous mismanagement and he astronomical waste.

Not millions but billions were frittered away in crazy schemes – or siphoned into private fortunes. Enough wealth and resources wastes in those five and half locust years and sufficient to have made Nigeria the most prosperous, the most powerful and the most influential nation in Africa.

Today, an average Nigerian perceives the civil services negatively. All kinds of civil are associated with this institution. These includes re-tapism, rigidity and conservation on the other hand, corruption, inefficiency, nepotism, ineffectiveness, wastefulness, laziness, absentee, high handedness and insensitivity on the other.

Existence and application of sanctions and formalities designed to maintain or restore respect for established rules of proper conduct is another element of the accountability apparatus that is absent in the public sector.

In actual fact, it is difficult for one to clearly detect where poor accountability stops and where corruption begins. The two follow each other sequentially – poor financial control and accountability has brought about a massive loss of resources to the public and the government over-inducing of imports has deprived Nigerian of their much needed resources.

Manifestation of poor accountability in government can come in form other than financial impropriety all because the system of checks, balances and monitoring is faulty thus making is difficult to pin-down particular culprits.

CHAPTER FIVE

5.1 RECOMMENDATION AND CONCLUSION

To remedy the inadequacy of the financial control in public sector, the following actions are recommended:

  1. REVIEW OF THE INTERNAL CONTROL SYSTEM: A sound system of internal check should be installed, duties should properly secreted, clearly defined and assigned to different persons units.
  2. RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING: A qualified or chartered accountant should be employed to head strategic departments and especially the internal audit unit. The ministry should from time to time organize workshops, seminars to provide on the job training for all members of staff especially the junior staff to acquaint them with the provision of relevant legislation and other changes in accounting techniques. In service training programme should be establish.
  3. IMPROVEMENT OF WORKERS WORKING CONDITION: Staff of the ministry should be provided with necessary social benefits in order to improve working relations and enhanced performance individually and collectively.
  4. REVIEW OF THE LAW: The relevant laws should be revisited. There is need to educate the workers on the provisions of the law. The commissioner should make sure that there is compliance with relevant legislation and other internal guides e.g. ministry accounting code and manual.
  5. Since poor accountability has been identified as an inevitable product of an unjust social order a government system that will establish social justice should be installed
  6. LEADERS MUST LEAD BY EXAMPLE: They should be above board and be seemed to be transparent by honesty.
  7. The code of conduct tribunal should be made to function and be given all the enabling legal support.
  8. Office holders tribunal such as advocates in the 1995 draft constitution be upheld and be made to function. There are many unanswered questions boarding on probity and accountability pending on many Nigerian’s past political office holders. A rigorous campaign on social engineering be mounted with a view to enlightening the public to assist in the fight against fraudulent practices in government. Widespread ignorance such as bound in the society adds to the arrogance of the elite and this makes them indulge in furious activities knowing that they will not be fried before the public court.
  9. All those that would be found guilty by the code of conduct tribunal of the 1995 draft constitution should have their aspect confiscated.
  10. There should be register of dishonour in which the names of people who abuse their offices are contained. Such a record could be shown from time to time to younger generations so that they will cultivate the habit of honour and disciplne.

5.2 CONCLUSION

From the foregoing, it is clear that there is a system of financial control in public sector organization. However, it is like wise seen that the system is grossly inadequate. This brings about widespread financial misappropriation in the ministry and other ministries of government.

Often, periodical financial reports and delayed. There is no doubt hat there exist accounting and budgeting failures in the ministry. There are no basis of assessing performance of individual workers as well as the various units in the ministry. Therefore, financial control and accountability can be achieved in a public sectors if properly introduced and managed.

REFERENCES

Oshibiamik Dean P.: Financial management in Nigerian public sector, London, Pitman 1996.

Okezie B.N. Auditing and investigation (with special emphasis on special classes of audit Owerri B.O.B. publication, 1998.

Johnson I.E. Public sector accounting and financial control Lagos financial training Nigeria, 1998.

Encyclopeadia Britanica (15th Edition) vol. 20 (1998)

Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of current English Revised Edition (1999)

Oshibram K. Government accounting and financial control Spectrum books Ltd Ibadan (1995)

Dlakwa H.D. Combination fraud, waste and abuse in Nigerian government unpublished conference proceedings (1997)

Johnson I.E. Public sector accounting and control. Finance training Nigeria (1992) page 1-21.

Okezie B.N. Auditing and investigations (with special emphasis on special classes of audit) Owerri B.O.N. publication (1995).

Omar Abubakar: Accountability in government (1996)

Oshisani K. Government accounting and financial control. Spectrum books Ltd Ibadan (1995)

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