FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN SELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREAS OF IMO STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Financial management constitutes the most crucial and central aspect in the administrative process of the local government system. This is due largely to the fact that finance determines the amount of services, development and quality and quantity of personnel provided by the local government.
However, the amount of revenue available to the local government and it’s accountability makes for efficient and effective local government system. Financial and it’s management is a sensitive area in government, and it’s strictly governed and guided by elaborate rules, regulation and guideline. Apparently, budgeting is the central activity in financial management, it includes the financial plan systematically designed showing details of the governments anticipated revenue and expenditure for a fixed period of time, which forms the basic and guide of government activities during the period.
Greater emphasis is always placed on the financial management, as the pedestal machinery for development and total governance in the local government administration. It equally in skills a level of financial display on the leadership execution and performance evolution. Furthermore, it is believed that financial management held’s the prospect of creating many opportunities, full exploitation of revenue sources available within the local government area. This can subsequently create for mobilization and expansion of commercial activities. In addition and embezzlement associated with the local government system.
Equally, financial management induces the demand for policy, which makes for prudent spending, economy in the application of funds and avoidance of waste.
Ideally the prospect of financial management helps prevent deficit and create for documentary foundation to question the wisdom and justify the revenue and expenditure in the planning and policy adjustment in local government.
Ardently, there exist problems, which are associated with financial management in the local government systems. These problems which are wide in scope and complex in nature, but relative to the diverse local government areas. Actually, the local government requires huge financial resources I order to provide it’s finances, amplifies their problems. Thus, the low internal revenue generation in our government appears to be a very wide problem, which consistency leads to deficit spending in their state of affairs. It is dear that almost every local, government system possess weak financial base. The financial departments of many local governments are adequately stated with qualified and experienced financial managers, accounts, auditors and property valuation officers who would apply their skills and initiatives to develop plans and strategies which would help them harvest and exploit fully and effectively the internal revenue sources. These indispensable, for efficient financial management, which are lacking in the local government have reduced the revenue generation capacities of the local government. It is also observed that the financial management of our local government of our local government system is grossly indicated and fraudulent abuse of priorities is a rampant practice. While public accountability is not taking seriously in the local government, local government accounts are not regularly audited to ensure financial discipline within financial memorandum and the prudent management of available funds.
In addition the financial management of the local government suffers relatively from the endemic problem of instability in the local government. It creates it’s own problem in the local government finances, the constant fundamental changes in the local government does not give it the required long term for planning, experimentation or alternative strategy techniques and solutions to problem. The financial management of the local government could be better in performance it devoid of constraint interceptions and changes. Conversely, with the facilities has an adverse effect on the financial management of the local government through the statutory revenue allocation is constructional and legitimate yet it is often with held, delayed or reduced, affect the financial estimates and management of the local governments. In addition, the undue state control of local government and it’s accounting system have contributed to how extractive the capabilities of the local government are. Orewa observed in this sense that the late approval of the budgets of local government have made it practically impossible to mobilize effective revenue and led to poor implementation of the budget, deficit and debt burden.
Finally, the lack of effective public enlightenment programme have significantly created problem to financial management in the local government. The negative attitude of people towards taxation, public levis and fees have reinforced inadequate financial management and the absence of accountability cum the people’s full inclement in local affairs. Public enlightenment can help to change management in the local government system.