STRATEGIES FOR ENHANCING FINANCIAL ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT SYSTEM IN NIGERIA. A CASE STUDY OF IKWO LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, EBONYI STATE
In Nigeria, local government reform has been a continues exercise. No single regime-colonial or indigenous, civil or military, regional or state government that came to power passed without making attempt of reforming the local government system. Even though the 1976 reform has surpassed all its predecessors, it was in fact part and parcel of the continuing structural adjustment of the country’s political evolution and development. On the whole, the 1976 reform was a major departure from the previous practice of local government administration; for introduce a uniform system throughout the country. The reform was first and foremost aimed at giving local government a definite role in the country by making it a functional three tier of government. The 1979 constitution indeed assumed the existence of local governments and provided adequately for its functions and powers in the second republic. Nevertheless, both it’s existence and functions were to be provided for in a law to be enacted by state government. According to section 7(1) of the 1979 constitution. Ikwo local government came into existence in the year 1979 under Enugu state before the present mother state Ebonyi state were created in 1996. Since then, they have had up to 7 chairman, 10 sole administrator and 6 care taker committee chairman, in total 23 of them among which Mr. V.E Nwoo was the first (Sept. 19979) and Hon. David Onuoha the present.
1.1. BACKGROUND OF STUDY
The subject, financial accountability is vital to any organization be it profit oriented or non-profit oriented. Lack of financial accountability results in embezzlement, fraud and misappropriation of funds. The peculiar nature of Nigeria economy has made any topic in accountability, financial or otherwise worth discussing. The value our society attach to wealth, which nobody is concerned to how wealthy one is, has made many people to begin to pursue wealth by all means thereby ignoring the fact that they are accountable tot he public for the public funds and properties entrusted I their care.
It is due to the problems mentioned above which are associated with lack of financial accountability in any organization that has motivated the researcher to choose the topic “strategies for enhancing financial accountability in the local government system in Nigeria through a system of control” Ikwo local government area in Ebonyi state has been chosen as a case study in trying to discuss how effective internal control will achieve financial accountability. Internal control system comprises the plan of organization and all coordinating method and measure, adopted within the management to safeguard the assets of the organization, check accuracy and reliability of its accounting data, promote operational efficiency and encourage adherence to prescribed managerial policies. This research focus on finding if the reference organization has installed this control system and if so, how effective it is as to enhance early detection of mistakes, deliberate misappropriation and equally checks collusion, fraud or embezzlement of funds through proper authorization, reliability of financial records, safe guarding of assets and hence maintenance of financial accountability. However, the ability of any organization t enhance its financial accountability depends mostly on the type and effectiveness of it’s internal control system.
1.2. STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Every policy formulated or constituted would have been a success if they are being carried out. But adherence to planned policies by employees are the problems of managing organization. The problem of policy execution is further compounded by the evolution of large organizations. There is therefore, the need for an internal control system. Internal control is such an indispensable tool in the hard of management if it wishes to obtain adequate and useful information, protect organization assets and control successive operations which lead to enhancing financial accountability. Many control procedure whose effectiveness on segregation of duties are being circumvented by the collusion of the employees is yet another problem. The degree of compliance with the control procedures are often to deteriorate due to negligence of duty. Carelessness, mistakes and even personal factors.